Jan 07, 2019 News
For over six years, the Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC)– the Marketing arm of the Ministry of Agriculture–through the Guyana Shop has provided a space for local Agro-processors to develop, stock and market their products to the Guyanese public and the Diaspora in a way that no other business or agency provides.
Though the Guyana Shop recently celebrated six years of being reopened, the supermarket has been in existence for over 30 years. Prior to its name (Guyana Shop) the local supermarket was known only as the GMC Supermarket. During that period, it sold fresh fruits, vegetables and a variety of meats in addition to small-scale agro-processed items.
After the supermarket reopened its doors as the Guyana Shop, the decision was taken to place emphasis on mainly marketing local agro-processed items in the local supermarket. The number of products in the supermarket, after it reopened its doors, has grown tremendously.
“We have come a very long way where agro-processing is concerned, since the opening of the Guyana Shop in 2012,” said Kevin Macklingam, Guyana Shop Manager. Mr. Macklingam said that there were only 600 products on the shelves when the Guyana Shop reopened its doors to the public. But, to the credit of the diligent staff, who have been working assiduously to attract new agro-processors to the supermarket, the list of products on the shelves of the Guyana Shop has now grown to 1476 and continues to grow each year.
Not only have the items increased, but the number of agro-processors has also increased. “The number of Agro-processors has already increased by 100 percent and the presentation of their products has changed rapidly,” said Macklingam. He also indicated that there have been significant improvements as it relates to the quality and the overall presentation of the local product.
Rodiekah De Freitas, who joined the Guyana Shop family with her line of spices (Diekah’s Spices) just two months ago, is beginning to reap the benefits. “My products, since being placed in the Guyana Shop, are beginning to move,” DeFreitas said, with a broad smile. “With the different activities that I have been a part of, I must say that they have opened doors for me to better market my products, especially the recently held Farmers’ Market Day where I was able to make meaningful linkages,” she happily explained. Ms DeFreitas, through the Guyana Shop, was also introduced to other leading supermarkets in Guyana. She said because of GMC’s assistance she will soon be supplying the Bounty supermarket with Diekah’s Spices.
Meanwhile, Mr Aubrey John, owner of GT fruit wine, who recently returned to Guyana and introduced his products to the Guyana Shop, said he is enthusiastic about being part of the Guyana Shop family.
“I know from experience, when I want something local I would go to the Guyana Shop to get it. Because of this, I know it would be the same thing for other persons who live overseas and would want to purchase local products,” John said as he awaits the “unlimited exposure” his product would receive.
In addition to marketing local-agro processed products in the Guyana Shop for the year 2018, there has been a plethora of marketing opportunities for agro-processors, many of which have led to meaningful linkages with farmers, exporters, local supermarket owners and persons who are interested in purchasing agro-processed items.
Some of these invaluable opportunities for the year were the Porridge Sampling Sessions that were held at three Post Offices in region 4, Agro-processors’ Exhibitions which took place in region 4 and 6 and the Emancipation Exhilaration that took place at Stabroek Square. Apart from these marketing opportunities, staff from the Guyana Marketing Corporation, when invited to other exhibitions, be it regionally or extra-regionally, would use the opportunity to promote local products available in the Guyana Shop.
The products in the Guyana Shop are not only available in Region 4. It is important to note that beyond its Robb and Alexander streets location, the Guyana Shop has, over the years, been quite instrumental in securing space for agro-processed products in local supermarkets in seven of the ten administrative regions in Guyana.
These supermarkets include: G&P Jaigobin & Son Supermarket and Safeway Supermarket in Region 2; Ram’s Supermarket in Vreed-en-Hoop, WBD, and L. Bukhan & Son Supermarket, Parika in Region 3; R. Prasad’s Service Station (Mary), Mon Repos, Railway Embankment, E.C.D in Region 4; Right Choice Supermarket, in Region 5; Rambrich Gas Station, No. 41 village, Bengal, Corentyne, Spready’s Supermarket, Port Mourant, Canawaima Ferry Stelling; Moleson Creek and B’s Mart Supermarket, Main Street New Amsterdam, in Region 6; Williams Brother Supermarket, First Avenue Bartica, in Region 7; and Savannah Inn Supermarket, Lethem, in Region 9. In addition to that, Guyana Shop would also supply the Food Maxx Supermarket with local items.
Further, the Guyana Shop stocks products from 9 of the 10 administrative regions in Guyana, with the exception being Region 7. The greatest concentration of products comes from Region 4. Products are sourced from communities as far as Rose Hall, Region 6; Hosororo Hill and Three Brothers Village, Region 1; North Pakaraimas, Region 8; Aranaputa Valley North Rupununi, Region 9; and Ameila’s Ward, Region 10.
Some of the items available in the Guyana Shop are jams, jellies, sauces, seasonings, several types of flours, porridge mixes, coconut oils, soaps, honey, crabwood oils, coconut cream, teas, a variety of wines, among others.
Expressing her gratitude for the collaboration that has been forged with the Agro-processors over the years, Ms. Ida Sealey-Adams, General Manager of Guyana Marketing Corporation noted that she looks forward to the continued support as the Corporation intensifies its effort to promote local products. She added that through the corporation’s public private partnerships with supermarkets and other retail shop owners, they have benefitted from the allocation of spaces in their Supermarkets to market local Agro-processed products.
Elaborating on future plans for the Guyana Shop, Sealey-Adams said: “It is envisaged that this ongoing relationship will result in Guyana Shop corners in all ten administrative regions. Further, plans are in place to establish at least one Guyana Shop corner regionally and extra-regionally in the not too distant future. In this regard, in 2019 the Corporation will undertake missions overseas to pursue this venture.” Ms Sealey-Adams also thanked the supermarket owners who continue to support the Guyana Shop and agro-processors.
Sealey-Adams is also encouraging persons, locally and internationally to get on board and partner with the Guyana Marketing Corporation to support local agro-processors. “Individuals and businesses locally, within the Diaspora, regionally and internationally who are interested in partnering with us, can contact us at the Guyana Marketing Corporation for any information they may need,” Sealey-Adams said.
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