Lascelles Chin, founder of Jamaican food distribution company LASCO, says the company plans to soon actively expand its market to Diaspora communities.
“We have become so popular, because we have very good quality products of excellent taste at very affordable prices,” said Chin in an interview with National Weekly. “Jamaicans who live abroad are proud of Jamaica products, so when they see a good product they’ll buy it. As a result, LASCO is planning to increasing exports to the US, Canada and other overseas markets.”
LASCO is currently exporting about 8 percent of its products overseas, says Chin, but the company recently appointed two export directors to focus more on the export market, with a goal of increasing exports to 30 percent.
“We are laying the foundation for a massive export drive,” said Chin, thanks to the already strong demand within the Diaspora for LASCO products like LASCO Food Drinks, LASCO callaloo, ackee, and condiments. In addition, the company is poised to place a new line of products on the U.S. market, with Miami and New York as primary target regions.
The expansion comes as the company emerges from a challenging period of the Jamaica economy, where there were “extremely high interest rates and the frequent devaluation,” said Chin. “But the challenges made us really tough businessmen, and we huddled down, managed effectively and survived.”
He acknowledged now that the Jamaican economy has “much improved” with interest rate down to 9 percent, “although that is still high compared with the U.S.,” despite the persistent devaluation of the Jamaican dollar, Jamaican business owners are hardened and “are going to do much better.”
In addition to his company’s economic contribution, the Diaspora community honored Chin last Saturday for his philanthropic work at the American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) Gala held in Miami, where he received Peacock Award for International Achievement.
Having grown up as a poor child in Jamaica, Chin says he understands the plight of the disadvantaged, and finds it natural to give.
“Jamaicans are wonderful people who just need opportunity, and as my success keeps growing I believe it is right to help the less fortunate,” said Chin. “I don’t worship money, and after ploughing some of my company’s profits back into the business to grow it, I use the rest to help Jamaicans at home and overseas, who are in need.”