Wednesday, March 30, 2011

On The Edge of Civilization and Success

If you take a look at a map of Guyana (many confuse it with Ghana, Africa) and locate the little town of Charity (west of Georgetown), you will see that there pretty much isn´t anything else west of there...or south of there either. Charity is on the frontier of civilization and in fact is found at the end of the highway from Georgetown. Although somewhat remote and challenged with some economic issues common to developing nations, this little town is not without several signs of economic success. One of them I was honored to meet during my volunteer visit to Guyana between March 12- March 26. I was accompanied by FTF Field Officer, Mr. Ryan Nedd, of Georgetown.

In 2001 a group of women from the Pomeroon River Region, of which Charity is a part, decided to create an all-women, agro-processing association to (in their own words) ¨create meaningful employment for women in our community, improving their skills, knowledge and income to alleviate poverty.¨ I was sent to this all-women´s association to assist them with their continued marketing efforts, and shortly after speaking with the Association Leadership, we decided that some additional business plan development would be very helpful as well.


In 2007, with the help of various donor agencies, the 14 member Association built a modern facility which is sufficiently equipped to produce 5 products under sanitary conditions governed by strict GMP standards. Their product line includes a Hot Pepper Sauce, a spicy Mango Achar, Coconut Oil, Fruit Mix, and Season Sauce which is largely a by-product of the Fruit Mix. Mr. Nedd and I had the pleasure of sampling all products, however, he balked at tasting the Hot Pepper Sauce; and maybe for good reason. Before trying the pepper sauce, we asked a visiting consultant from India if he thought it was hot. He replied that it is the hottest sauce he had ever tasted. I think that´s when Mr. Nedd decided. In spite of the rather intense heat, the pepper sauce has an excellent flavor array, which would compliment pretty much any food that needs a little ¨heating¨ up.

These ladies indeed have a gift for producing excellent quality food products which come from locally grown farms. I found that The Association not only has great prospects for solid distribution in Guyana but also, within a short period of time, specific Caribbean island nations, like Trinidad/Tobago, St. Kitts, Antigua, Jamaica and St. Lucia.

Before leaving the Pomeroon Women´s Agroprocessors Association, I left them with a detailed, 3 phase plan that is a combined Business and Marketing Plan to assist them in realizing greater penetration within the Guyanese market and later on how to enter the select markets within the Caribbean. The Plan also gives specific recommendations for criteria which should be met before moving to Phase 3 of the Plan which includes details about how to begin developing distribution into the USA.

The coordinated efforts of FTF and EMPRETEC and the hard work of the Women of Pomeroon, create a powerful team of success on ¨The Edge of Civilization¨.

The volunteer assignment was facilitated through a partnership arrangement between the FTF Program and EMPRETEC Guyana - an institution that is involved in promoting the development of small and medium enterprises by means of various capacity building initiatives.

Submitted by: Daniel Shaneyfelt

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