Raising the profile of African Guyanese investment in agro processing

The impact of last Tuesday’s Fifth Emancipation Exhilaration Event staged in the shadow of Stabroek Market may well have been reduced by intermittent heavy showers.

   That notwithstanding, there is an argument for suggesting that the landmark accomplishments which African Guyanese, mostly women, have made in the agro processing sector was less than generously represented in both the number of vendors who set out their stalls beneath what seemed like limited tented accommodation.

    It seemed to us, as well, that the astonishing range of food seasonings, condiments and cosmetics that have been manufactured by small businesses run by African Guyanese through evidence of forward movement was reflected in the strides made in areas such as packaging and labeling.

   In that sense it would seem that the days of recycled jam jars and rum bottles as containers may be more or less behind us.

     Still, the feedback that we received from Tuesday’s event suggests that insofar as raising the profile of small African-run businesses in sectors like agro processing is concerned, there is still much to be done in terms of creating a strong enabling infrastructure that includes structured access to financing for investment, infrastructure associated with the expanded cultivation of raw materials for the agro processing sector, technology associated with elevating the level of manufacture beyond the realm of the domestic kitchen, further improvements in packaging and labeling and business training for investors in the sector.   

More needs to be done, as well, is to mobilize larger domestic, regional and international markets through a far more generous measure of official backing for expanded product promotion exercises both at home and abroad.     

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