Women and the agro-processing sector: The challenge of sustainability

Women agro-processors: Rodiek-ah De Freitas, Sandra Craig and Princess Cosbert

Despite the role of women in the production, processing and marketing of agricultural goods in Guyana, the available evidence suggests that production resources and opportunities to consolidate what are mostly their modest economic ventures remain strictly limited.

Over the last four decades we may have watched agro-processing in Guyana grow from experimental-type attempts at ‘preserves and pickles’ ‘cooked up’ in domestic kitchens, offered in ‘tacky’ jam jars with crude paper labels affixed and limited in their volumes, to more eye-catching efforts. These days, it is fair to say that a visible even if still underdeveloped agro-processing sector has emerged and that it has become a recognised part of the local economy.

If agro-processing has, until now, played only a limited role in putting Guyanese women on the local entrepreneurial map what it has certainly done is to provide an income-earning niche for women who have demonstrated the energy and creativity to transform creativity into commerce. While there are no precise figures regarding the extent of female representation in agro-processing in Guyana the available evidence, based on representation at the increasing number of agro-processing-related public events, suggests that women almost certainly account for upward of 80% of the small to medium-sized players in the agro-processing sector…..

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