Oct 26, 2015 News
Local corporations and entrepreneurs highlighted Guyana’s manufacturing and production potential when the Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC) held its agro-processors fair in Main Street on Saturday.
The event, an annual feature, attracted a steady stream of visitors, who were treated to samples and charmed into making purchases.
Among the corporations in contention was the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) and the Women’s Agro- Processors Development Network.
One of the most popular sections, especially for the ladies, was the booth of renowned bee catcher and President of the Guyana Apiculture Society Linden Stewart.
On display were a number of products that were harvested from the dangerous Africanized honey bees. These included soaps made from beeswax.
“This is honey and turmeric soap….There is also honey and lime. Those are skin therapy soaps,” he said. “Most of the women make and use a honey and lemon paste on their face, so we decided to produce soap so they would not have the headache of mixing and going and buy lemon.”
He also displayed other items, including tablets made from the pollen. According to the bee expert, bees would take the pollen back to their hives to make “bee bread”. According to him, this was rich in protein.
Among the benefits, he ascribed were improving eyesight, reducing fatigue levels and even relieving erectile dysfunction.
Also on sale was “royal jelly” which is a honey bee secretion that is used to give developing larvae valuable nutrients. He stated that while this product is gaining popularity around the world, in Guyana efforts were only now being made to increase its popularity.
Propolis (bee glue), a resinous mixture used by hunters to trap birds, was another product on display. He revealed that bees would use the secretion to ‘cement’ the combs of the hive. According to Stewart its alternative uses included treatment of flu, fever and cold symptoms.
“Honey is anti bacterial and it does not spoil. It is good for cold, cough, fever, flu and it is instant energy.”
He also touched on beeswax, made from melting the honey comb in large quantities. He stated that from that comes a hard, gummy wax-like material that can be used to make candles and hair food.
Apiculture, which is the science of beekeeping, falls under the purview of the Ministry of Agriculture. According to Stewart, the quality of Guyana’s honey has been rated foremost in the Caribbean for the past few years.
“Our bees have been tested and found to be pest free,” he said. “Our honey was tested internationally by the University of Delaware. They came together in 2013, through partners in the US and we got the results in 2014. Guyana has an advantage in apiculture.”
There were other colorful displays from local organizations, including a display from the GSA. The students turned out with several products of their own making, including packaged porridge mix and plantain chips.
The Fresh Processors Association, located on the East Bank of Demerara, had an array of porridge mixes and East Indian spices.
“We don’t export,” one of the representatives told Kaieteur News. “But our products are in the supermarkets. The response has been quite good, even bigger and better than last year.”
The Women’s Agro-Processors Development Network displayed packaged cassava bread, eddo powder, bottled sauces and pepper. One representative revealed that such products are in high demand abroad as they are not readily available. In addition, there was bottled coconut oil.
During recent the World Food Day observances, President David Granger had touted the lifting of Guyana’s standards in food production as imperative to lift rural poverty.
Noting that the Caribbean’s food import bill annually was astronomical, he had announced increased Government investment in agro-processing and cottage industries.
The recent formation of the Woodley Park/Bath/Experiment Cash Crop Farmers Association on Saturday, October 17 can also be termed as a step in that direction, as the farmers were tasked with boosting production and diversification.
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