Ad was not perceived to be degrading

Dear Editor,

With respect to the letter by Ms Sherlina Nageer published on March 27, 2012 under the caption ‘The stereotypes perpetuated in Ghansham’s ad for Alesie still play a huge role in oppressing Guyanese women today,‘ we took good notice and explain hereunder:

The Alesie Group of Companies is a three generations old company and is deeply moved by the farmers’ plight and supports all movements for equality.

It is the Alesie Group of Companies which revolutionized the rice industry in the 1990s, taking exports from 25,000 mt in 1989 within a year into 6 figures, dramatically improving farmers’ family lives.

While the company was unjustly penalized by the authorities in 2007 it was again the Alesie Group which hiked the paddy price with full support from the farmers and with significant women representation, from $2500 to $6500 per bag, and it is yet again the Alesie Group which initiated the lucrative Venezuela export.

We have several times advertised in all newspapers in Guyana, including Stabroek News, with our vacancy advertisements and you will see that all our advertisements carry on the bottom:

“Alesie is an equal opportunity company M/F/D”(D stands for Disabled)

We would like to refer to the latest presentation of our President of the Group in Dubai, United Arab Emirates at the Grains Conference (http://youtu.be/y4KsTNItGbw) where he referred to Dr Diouff’s (FAO) statement: “It’s time for the global community to work together to increase rice production in a sustainable way that will benefit farmers, women, children and especially the poor.”

However, as a result of the several issues mentioned by Ms Nageer, we have immediately requested our marketing department to review the ad’s script in relation to the areas of concern she addressed.

The intention was to create an ad to reveal our product, while at the same time being entertaining. Being a food company, we wanted to address at least one health issue.

The script is as follows:

A farmer comes home from the field to his loving family and relaxes in the hammock, keeping his wife company and lovingly calls her “Sweet Pea,” etc.

It was in no way perceived to be degrading and we therefore ask Ms Nageer not to see it in that light.

The idea of the ad was to compare figures, which was also indeed a subject of discussion. It was made acceptable by agreeing to take a bold step indicating that being obese creates health problems and therefore we should show this as our company is part of research being done to reduce the GI in rice. This has so far successfully been done and further research is still going on.

May we assure Ms Nageer that we hold equality in high esteem and will keep in mind her remarks when making our next promotional ad.

The ad was done by order of Ruimzeight Rice Processors Inc, an Alesie licensed company of which the company’s management staff is 100% female, the packaging department is 100% female, the production and processing department is 7% female and the transportation department is 50% female.

May we invite Ms Nageer to visit us at our Ruimzeight Operations, tel: 269-0026.

Yours faithfully,
Shafeeza Kowlessar
Ruimzeight Rice Processors Inc
Alesie Group Management

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