Sep 18, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Forty-two agro-processors from across the 10 administrative regions in Guyana have submitted their locally made products to the recently announced Economic Development Accelerator (EDA) grant programme.
The EDA programme, according to a release, was designed and is being implemented by the Guyana Economic Development Trust (GEDT), a U.S. and Guyana-based initiative that supports Guyanese innovation in science, technology and agriculture — and is fully funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
EDA’s programme application process was opened in July and attracted more than 70 agro-processors. Following the application process, agro-innovators submitted their products for tasting/sampling and general evaluation. On Tuesday, September 14, 2021, a tasting event for the food-based products
occurred at the Ruimveldt Life Improvement Centre. Forty-two of the applicants submitted their products to be tasted by renowned chefs and caterers. There was a variety of submissions ranging from pepper sauces to seasonings, and a number of unique items such as pre-cooked pepper-pot and pre-cooked cook-up packaged for supermarket shelves, sweet potato cake mix, and much more.
The United States Agency for International Development/Eastern and Southern Caribbean Senior Development Advisor, Philip Schwehm also attended and participated in the tasting, and shared that he was very pleased and impressed with the quantity and variety of the submissions. Chefs Sarafina Edghill and Dougal Kirkpatrick, who were on the panel, expressed similar sentiments.
“There was a variety of local stuff which was very interesting. I was amazed because I wasn’t expecting this much, and for several of them, I was very impressed. I would, however, advise them to work on presentation and packaging so that we can represent Guyana to the best of our ability,” Chef Edghill commented.
Chef Kirkpatrick of Kirkpatrick’s Enterprise, said that even though the products were impressive, there is still some work to be done to elevate them to export standards. This, indeed, is the purpose of the EDA programme. The EDA programme will select 30 of these agro-processors and provide training and
hands-on technical assistance from international and regional consumer packaged goods experts. A collaborative partnership with New York University’s Stern School of Business will also allow MBA mentors and industry experts to work with the Guyanese businesses. The goal is to help participants improve their products for international export.
The 30 chosen applicants will also vie for grants, ultimately awarded to five of the most promising companies, to help them scale their operations and export their products.
Agro-processing, or agricultural manufacturing, is an increasingly important source of employment. It can also contribute to wealth building for small-scale operators and marginalised groups in Guyana. The EDA programme, like other initiatives underway in Guyana, will help support exports of processed foods such as fruit preserves, sauces and seasonings, ground spices, snack foods, cocoa processing, herbal teas, and more. The EDA will be a catalyst that supports economic development and helps usher in
prosperity for Guyanese agro-processors.
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