Five local producers of indigenous processed foods are currently participating in the annual SIAL-11 agricultural trade show in Toronto, Canada. The exhibition is on from 8th to 14th May.
The agro-processors, Jet’s Enterprises (de Kinderen ECD), Tandy’s Manufacturing Enterprises (Eccles, EBD), Original Juice (Grant Berthrum, Upper Pomeroon), Prestige Manufacturing and Bottling Enterprise (La Grange, WBD), and the Kuru Kururu Farmers, Crops and Livestock Association (Linden/Soesdyke Highway, are small and medium sized enterprises that have been in the business of preserving, processing and bottling fruits, vegetables and other agricultural by-products for some years.
Each exhibitor expects that the exposition will open the gates to the Canadian and American markets for their “Made in Guyana” products.
This trade mission is another spin-off of continued collaboration between the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) and the Trade Facilitation Office (TFO) of Canada. The main objective is to provide access to the Canadian market for Guyana’s agricultural producers and processors, for artisans, furniture manufacturers and owners of indigenous enterprises that have brought their products up to international standard.
This effort by the GMSA was one more productive step in the overall process to create opportunities for business growth, to expose small business owners to markets outside Guyana’s borders, and provide access to international expertise and funding.
This agricultural trade mission to Canada is the second one that the GMSA has spearheaded this year. Just last January, eight local artisans, also from rural communities in Guyana, showcased a collection of intricate household artifacts designed with leather, cane, woods, clay, tibisiri and other indigenous derivatives at the Canadian Interior Design Show (IDS-11) also in Toronto.
Funding for both these trade missions was provided by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
The exhibitors were selected after a rigorous process of evaluation and in-plant visits by GMSA’s technical representatives and TFO’s international consultants. In April 2010, the Association hosted the first Export Packaging Workshop for agro-based exporters and manufacturers of primary and secondary products. It focused on regulations and standards for export packaging materials, printing labels, packaging equipment, testing and quality assurance.
Training continued in September 2010 facilitated by two local consultants, Ronald Noble and Arnold De Mendonca, who were specially trained by TFO to conduct workshops for Labelling/Marking and Packaging processed foods for export.
GMSA President, Clinton Williams, told the participants of that workshop that the best means of encouraging a consumer to purchase a product is its presentation.
“This is where every manufacturer gets the opportunity to make that good first impression and to achieve international acceptance”, he said, while urging them to be always cognizant of the fact that their products would be competing for attention on the same shelves with other labels and packages of a very high standard.
He referred to reports that the GMSA had received word of some products from Guyana being repackaged in other countries and sent on to North American and European markets, labeled as products of those countries. Good packaging is a significant investment, he stressed, while pointing out that many local business owners would have lost market opportunities and competitive advantages because they did not recognize this deficiency.
THE AGRI PRODUCTS EXHIBITORS
Original Juices is owned and operated by Nateram Ramnanan (aka Juiceman) of Grant Berthrum, Upper Pomeroon. He has been juicing pineapples, cherries, oranges, guava and other seasonal fruits for over 6 years, and bottling the juices for sale to food shops, small and large scale retailers and supermarkets mainly in the Essequibo region and West Demerara. Recently he added juiced pumpkin, coconut water and pulverized orange peel to his product line. ‘Juiceman’ also produces mango and tamarind achar (chutney), pepper sauce and seasoning sauce.
The Kuru Kururu Farmers Association has taken pure honey to the Toronto fair, honey that was harvested from the 17 apiaries owned by the farmers. Their representative, Yonnette Kennedy, said that the product is classified as ‘pure’ because it has neither been processed nor enhanced by additives. The farmers association is in the process of acquiring additional hives to increase production volume and eventually manufacture bees wax. Other value-added products, especially from eddoes that grow in proliferation in Kuru Kururu, are also in their expansion plans.
Jet’s Pure Noni Juice, in concentrate and beverage form, is also being displayed at SIAL-11 along with Jet’s ginger beer, mauby, cherry and capadulla concentrates. According to the Reverend Jethro Warner, Noni (Marinda Citrifolia) is highly sought after by Guyanese and West Indians in Guyana and the Diaspora for its health properties which include remedying athlete’s foot, constipation, gingivitis and colds.
Tandy’s assortment of fruity jams and jellies made from pineapple, guava, cherries and mangoes also form part of the Guyana display along with new products made from watermelon and passion fruit. Right alongside is Tandy’s Chinese seasoning and pepper sauces and their original product Tandy’s peanut butter. The brand is already known in the USA, Canada, Antigua, Dominica and other countries in the Caribbean for its high quality and attractive presentation.
Prestige Manufacturing and Bottling Enterprise from West Bank Demerara has been producing hot sauces, Chinese sauce, cassareep, chutney and green seasoning for 23 years. The Prestige brand is better known, however, for their essences of Almond, Pear and Pine. Prestige’s Production Manager, Mokesh Prashad said that his products are not unfamiliar to Guyanese residing in Canada. He expects that his diverse product line will attract a sizeable number of bakers and operators of fine food establishments to the Guyana booth.
For many years GMSA has been the catalyst for infrastructural development, process line and market improvement of hundreds of SMEs in Guyana. The association represents the interests of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that are involved in manufacturing and services and has facilitated the entry of Guyanese products into the international marketplace across the Caribbean, into North America and Europe.
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