Mar 09, 2009 News
The Pomeroon Women’s Agro-Processors Association officially commissioned its agro-packaging facility on Saturday.
This project was a joint initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, the European Union (EU), Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, said that over the past several years there is evidence of growth in Charity and surrounding communities, with a surge in agro-processing activities and enterprises.
In that area there are about 12 different agro-processing facilities covering a wide range of products.
He pointed out that such activities assist in the economic status of women, who are predominantly involved in the sector.
“It is very important if we are going to look at issues such as poverty reduction, ensuring that wealth creation and the opportunities to create wealth is spread across different layers and different social classes of our society…this is sign for the country.”
Persaud told the gathering that increasingly a greater movement has been seen in the direction of agro processing.
This, he said, is certainly a natural result of what is taking place in the wider sphere of agriculture.
There are many advantages in the sphere of agro processing, he added, pointing out that it is an area that is able to generate greater income from crops and commodities through the value added activities.
“We are also able to ensure that we have longer shelf life, especially in remote or far-flung communities, while at the same time enhance the attractiveness and palatability of those commodities.”
Small agro enterprises, he added, are driven by women and it aids in empowerment and contribute to gender equality development within the society while at the same time contributes to social development.
The Pomeroon Women’s Agro-Processors Association, which markets its products under the name ‘Pomeroon Delight,’ is made up of 12 women.
This group promotes agricultural activities such as the manufacturing of preserved fruits, jams, wines, pepper sauce, achar and cooking sauce.
The group was started in 2001.
President of the Association, Vilma Da Silva, said that in the earlier part of this year focus was placed on improvements in food safety, packaging, labeling and innovative marketing through a series of workshops during a five week period.
She said that the organization needed a computer and a printer to keep its record up to date.
Following her presentation, Minister Persaud announced that the organisation can uplift the computer and printer from his office later this week.
Da Silva said that the group still needs support in terms of marketing and product development.
During this year the group will be working to widen its market shares and also develop its bar code.
According to Da Silva, focus will be placed on seeking consistent, reliable and relatively inexpensive supplies of bottles and other packaging materials.
“The members continue to work diligently to improve their production and products and seek opportunities for personal development.”
CIDA Representative, Brett Maitland, said that the Canadian Government has continued to support small businesses and some $600M (over ten years – double the assistance for the region) in Canadian aid was given to the Caribbean of which Guyana is a beneficiary.
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