The Pomeroon Women’s Agro-Processors Association on Saturday commissioned an agro-processing facility at Charity to produce value-added products.
According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release the group promotes agricultural activities such as the manufacturing of preserved fruits, jams, wines, pepper sauce, achar and cooking sauce.
The facility was made possible through collaboration among the Ministry of Agriculture, the European Union (EU), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), GINA said.
According to the release Region Two Regional Chairman Ali Baksh said there are different groups of women in the region that can be credited with the upward turn of its economy. He said it is the development of cottage industries like these which are an added boost to the economy.
President of the Association Vilma Da Silva said communities are faced with the same problems from generation to generation and in order to stem this cycle individuals need to cooperate. She said the National Agricultural Research Institute provides training in areas such as marketing and processing and the Guyana Marketing Corporation and the EU provide technical support.
Da Silva said too the Association is trying to increase its market share. GINA said too Philomena Stoll, who is actively involved with the group, said it was started in 2001 with 20 women and has developed.
Additionally, CIDA Representative Brett Maitland said that the Canadian Government has provided continual support to small businesses. Guyana is one of the Caribbean beneficiaries of about CDN$600M in aid the Canadian Government had allocated for this purpose. IICA representative Ignatius Jean said the Association was “a beacon of hope and a shining example for especially rural communities.”
According to GINA, Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud said the facility is a boost to agro-processing since it would cover a variety of products and commodities. He encouraged residents to play an active role in improving as it will open a number of jobs, thereby reducing poverty in the area.
“Currently external experts are experimenting with particular types of technology related to processing and many more investments are being made,” the minister added. He said too government will continue to support the sector since it is based on increasing value-added activities which would provide greater income, longer shelf life and enhance the attractiveness of the commodities. Regarding the Association, Persaud said it had a booth at Agro-fest in Barbados in order to market its products and activities.