Develop a plan for intellectual property rights
THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine has advised agro-processors on the island to develop plans to safeguard the intellectual property rights of their products.
He was delivering the keynote address on Thursday at the Tobago Agribusiness Development Company (TADCO) product launch and display at the Gardenside car park, Scarborough. The event was titled Transitioning Agri Business in Tobago.
“I want to tell you that part of your business plan has to be an intellectual property rights protection plan, because you can’t just come up with something that’s a wonderful product and don’t think the scrooges won’t steal not your product idea and I want to replicate it,” he said.
“So you come with something good and great. You must patent your product. You need to be careful about your copyrights and make sure you do your due diligence.
Augustine said TADCO will also help them protect what is rightfully theirs, “so you can produce the most and avoid some of the unnecessary competition.”
However, he said agro-processors must be ready to compete in any market.
“If you’re making pepper sauce in 2022, you have to compete with Chief, Grace, and all these big companies rolling out different lines of pepper sauce.
“Don’t think for a second that you don’t have to compete. And so, the question will always be, “How is my product so unique that someone else will want it?” How is my product so superior that someone else will want it? »
As such, Augustine urged them to also focus on the consistency and quality of their products.
“Because if your product is going to do well, you can’t come to a fair like this and your product is class A and you put your best foot forward and all the right ingredients and then when you’re ready to do – it for supermarket shelves, you will dilute the product so much that the pepper sauce will run like juice.
“You have to pay attention to consistency and quality if you want to keep doing well. This is an important facet that will help you to be competitive.
Using pepper sauce as an example, Augustine said during his visits to the supermarket that he usually bypasses the big brands “because I’m not looking for pepper sauce that looks gooey and whitish like it’s full of starch.
“I am looking for a good quality product and that is what I expect from you, our agro-processors. I will always bypass the big names for your smaller local names as I expect a higher quality product.
He revealed that the THA would soon embark on an initiative to monetize Tobago as a brand.
“Everyone knows that the Tobago brand is a brand superior to anything else. In fact, it’s even superior to our neighbor’s brand in many ways.
“You just get on the boat and get off in Port of Spain and stand on a corner with a piece of signboard and it marks the Tobago chennette or the Tobago mango, it sells out faster than anything else.
“Why? Because there’s a perception that already exists that if the product comes from Tobago it’s of higher quality. It’s much more likely to be organic, much more likely to be safer. People have developed this product with a lot more dignity. It’s something we can monetize.
Augustine said Tobago products should be branded to ensure they are easily recognizable.
“There needs to be unique branding on all of our products so that when anyone in the world sees it, they can say, ‘This is from Tobago. And because it bears this mark, we are certain that it meets certain quality control measures, we are certain that it is of very high quality and we are certain that it is well worth the money spent, even if it is of higher cost. ”
In his address, Augustine also lamented the lack of food laboratories in Tobago.
“In 2022, we still don’t have food labs on the island. Agri-food processors still have to transport their goods to Trinidad to CARIRI (Caribbean Industrial Research Institute) or one of those food labs established for have their products properly tested so that they can meet the sanitary conditions and the type of health, safety and legal requirements that are necessary.
He said this should not be the case as under the Seventh Schedule of THA 40 of 1996, CARIRI by law is required to provide this service on the island.
“It baffles me that this has been the law since 1996 and that CARIRI does not yet offer this service on the island of Tobago. I want to assure you that this is the last year for this.
Augustine said she sent a letter to CARIRI last week asking for clarification on the matter.