ABSIP to spearhead development projects to improve street vending

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Antigua and Barbuda will enter into a project with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Development (DFATD) under the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) project to improve street vending operations. 

The project is a key recommendation made by the Subcommittee for job creation and economic diversification. It includes creating new enterprises, new markets, and accelerating e-commerce to enhance street vending operations and increase innovative productization. 

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda observed that since COVID-19 there has been a proliferation of street vending with many persons selling fruits and vegetables, and other commodities. The practice has become a double edge sword, on one hand, the increase in vendors contributes to food security by ensuring adequate provision of fresh produce with high nutritional value, on the other hand, the method of a tray in the hot sun open to the elements leads to several issues including overcrowded streets of vendors, traffic congestion with patrons, phytosanitary concerns and expose venders to harmful health concerns. As a result, the government sought the assistance of the international community and has secured a quarter-million-dollar project to begin addressing this situation. 

Using a phased approach, the initiative will take place in the following phases:

Phase 1 will see a number of activities aimed at assessing the street vending operations in and around the city area of St. John’s, to determine the number of vendors plying their trade, the type of products being sold, the main areas utilized for vending activities, etc.

Phase 2 will see 25 vendors identified for participation in an investment forum and exhibition. The vendors will get an opportunity to not only showcase their products but will also get exposure and opportunities for investment. 

Phase 3 will see the commencement of several capacity building and development sessions, starting with a two-day workshop for at least 25 vendors that will take the form of a soft introductory session, introducing key areas such as health and safety, costing and pricing, and customer service. 

Following the workshop, there will be at least three training sessions held on different topics to include packaging, presentation, and export. It is envisaged that at least 100 vendors will be fully trained on operational efficiency by the end of the project. 

Phase 4 will see the procurement of kiosk/stalls to improve vending operations to include standardization of vending structures to ensure phytosanitary conditions, alleviate the burden vendors’ face in transporting goods back and forth daily, and improve the presentation along the major highways to make for better optics. 

The final phase of the project will focus on supporting the facility at Dunbar’s designed to conduct product testing, sample creation, research, and development to support agro-processing initiatives. 

The Antigua and Barbuda Science Innovation Park (ABSIP) will serve as the main steering body for the project, providing support to the implementing entities as needed. ABSIP will work with key stakeholders such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Antigua, and Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA), and the Department of Analytical Services (DAS) and the Development Control Authority (DCA) to ensure efficient implementation of activities.