If the adage about one swallow not making a summer clearly applies to the recent initiatives by the Government of Guyana and the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) to attempt to breathe new life into the country’s agro-processing sector, it would be churlish not to acknowledge the recent developments in the sector and what we should be reading into it.
Some background is necessary. The agro-processing sector is one of those areas where progress had come to be measured by the decibel level of the various commitments given, time and again, to take one initiative or another to take the sector forward. Nothing really worked and at the end of the day it has been down to the endeavours of the intrepid producers with their limited and sub-standard capacity, not least the lack of any real marketing skills, to keep the sub-sector going. There has, however, never really been any question about the talents of the producers of the various condiments, fruit drinks and food spices, though most of them were rendered uncompetitive on the market on account of sub-standard packaging and labeling which meant that they failed to meet the standard set by the high-profile local outlets and by the regional and extra regional market.
All of that aside, we have never been able to successfully integrate our farmers and our agro-processors, the net negative effect of that deficiency being that our bountiful harvests of fruit and vegetables have not been able to take full seasonal advantage of our agro processing sector…..