Women In Business …Lisa’s Preserved Fruit cashing in on the seasonal market

The final quarter of the year is a busy period for Farina Fareed. It is during this period that the demand for her preserved carambola goes through the roof. Guyanese have long grown accustomed to local fruit as one of the essential ingredients for their Christmas cake.

When we visited her earlier this week she was in the process of securing stock to replenish supermarket shelves. She is proud of the fact that her product, Lisa’s Preserved Carambola, takes pride of place on the shelves of some of the city’s leading supermarkets and groceries, to which she supplies her product.

She had not given a great deal of thought to a brand name when she went to register her business. Pressed to come up with a name her older daughter’s came to mind.

Widely cultivated throughout Asia, carambola has become associated with scores of recipes in various parts of the world.

Here in Guyana the fermented fruit has come to be associated with wines. But by far, the most popular product derived from carambola is the flavoured and dried fruit used as part of the mixture in the creation of Guyana’s legendary black cake.

Farina Fareed

Lisa’s Preserved Carambola began in 1999 as a small venture designed to supplement Fareed’s income as a single parent of two girls. Hers was typical of the circumstance under which the majority of Guyanese women become involved in business.

Over time and with the assistance of the New Guyana Marketing Corporation she constantly upgraded her product. Her challenges did not end with product quality.

During what she describes as the early years, labelling and packaging were severely underdeveloped and presentation was restricted to plastic bags and written or typewritten labels. At that time, her primary outlets were stallholders in the municipal markets.

Fareed said that while her product was generally appreciated by consumers she came under constant pressure to improve her presentation.
Today, she has made a quantum shift to plastic tubs adorned with colourful labels, a circumstance that has given her access to the more up-market outlets as well as the New Guyana Marketing Corporation’s Guyana Shop.

Lisa’s Preserved Carambola

Most of her carambola is bought from farms in the Pomeroon River and over the past 13 years her production has increased to almost 3,000 pounds per month.
The process of converting fresh carambola into dried, preserved fruit takes about one week. The fruit is flavoured, boiled for three to four hours then dried. After the cooling process is completed the product is carefully packaged before being sent to market.

Sales are seasonal and that presents Fareed with what is perhaps her biggest challenge. She seeks to take maximum advantage of the Christmas season, making frequent trips to her outlets to replenish stocks. The money which she makes at Christmas must be enough to see her through a much longer period.

There is talk of setting up a factory to replace the tiny operating space set up next to her home on the West Coast Demerara but the realization of that ambition seems a long way away. For the moment she must persist with manufacturing and marketing in what is still a small way and hoping that she can realise the kind of incremental growth in sales that can eventually bring her the expansion she seeks.

Latest in Business

At the Princess Hotel Casino

Draft gaming legislation before year end

Legislation designed to update existing local laws to ensure that they keep pace with the evolution of gaming is currently being drafted and could be completed before the end of this year, Chairman of the new Gaming Authority of Guyana Roysdale Forde has told the Stabroek Business.

20160701business cover

Georgetown Chamber expects gov’t to avail 20% of contracts for SMEs as provisioned in act

The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has signalled its intention to throw its weight behind the provision in the 2004 Small Business Act that binds government to ensuring that the small business sector secures a minimum of 20 per cent of procurement contracts issued by the state.

default placeholder

Are you really an entrepreneur?

Entrepreneur, Managing Director, GeoTechVision Entrepreneurship seems to be the new buzz word these days and while many are trying to build and contribute to creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem, few entrepreneurs have excelled by turning their ideas into high growth businesses.

default placeholder

Contractors seeking meetings with ministers, mayor to discuss workplace safety issues

Stabroek Business has been sent a copy of a memorandum from the 70-member General Contrac-tors Association of Guyana (GCAG) seeking what its Secretary Neil Cort-Rogers says are “important meetings” with two cabinet ministers and the Mayor of Georgetown to find solutions to “critical issues” facing the sector.

Prime Minister Keith Rowley attended by assorted dignitaries doing sod-turning duties at the site of the planned car park.

Port of Spain getting parking meters too

One thing that Georgetown appears to have in common with Port of Spain is a premium on parking space and yesterday the Trinidad Express reported that on the previous day the twin-island Republic’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley had turned the sod to commence the construction of a TT$100 million multi-storey car park in the capital.

Mercy Wings is training part of the country’s future work force

Mercy Wings needs public, private sector help to provide Sophia youths with life-changing skills

Sophia is one of those working-class communities where unemployment is high, poverty is ever present and the rate of school dropouts is disturbing.

Kitco is a Canadian company that buys and sells precious metals such as gold, copper and silver. It runs a website Kitco.com for gold news, commentary and market information.

Kitco Market

Gold Prices for the three day period ending Thursday  June 30, 2016

Kwakwani faces an acute crisis of bad roads

Berbice River communities facing economic challenges, community differences

Kwakwani is a struggling, underdeveloped community, a poignant example of the fact that the pace of development has not been anywhere near even across the various regions of Guyana.


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: