The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs is looking at potential opportunities which will assist villages in the production of a number of origin-linked Products to meet international standards.
The Ministry has provided much needed support by ensuring training is received for capacity building.
In this regard a two member team comprising Management Development Officer Ms. Florence La Rose-Fedee and Farmer Mr. Denis Wilson from the Casareep Producers Group in Region 1 recently returned from a three-day World Intellectual Organization WIPO/IDB-REACH workshop on Optimizing the Competitiveness of Geographic Indications (GIs) and Origin-Linked Products (OLPs) within CARICOM countries.
The workshop was held at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, Trinidad.
According to Ms. La Rose-Fedee the training “has brought out the importance of working together in cooperatives for a common purpose, since business requires endurance, patience and commitment from all involved. It was also evident that there were opportunities for farmers to receive training in terms of best practices to gain best yields. It was noted that governments support would come in the form of the provision of tools which is shared among those who are part of the farmer cooperative”.
The workshop also created an opportunity for participants to build business models on a product of their choosing and deliver a presentation on the said product.
Several models were crafted which saw the local team presenting on Guyana’s unique exotic Casareep product. Feedback was provided on ways of improving the models presented and according to Ms Larose-Fedee “this was found to be a very good exercise in building the brand of the product”.
“The team had an opportunity to think about how one can sell a product on the international market that has a variety, in a way where the value of the product can be made more attractive. A product such as our Cassareep which is identifiable only to our local market and to a lesser extent the Caribbean diaspora can become an excellent product if its usage and value is easily decipherable only then will it be able to attract traditional markets”, LaRose-Fedee explained on her return from the training.
She acknowledged that “there are a number of market possibilities and opportunities for Guyana to market its Casareep, as it is a unique exotic product, made from one ingredient. There is interest in Trinidad from persons who attended the workshop who are desirous of having future conversations to becoming distributors, however there are a number of things that we need to put in place in order to get the market flow going”.
The cassava Casareep is a byproduct of the bitter cassava juice which is used locally to add flavor to several local dishes and a primary ingredient for Pepper pot which is a national Guyanese dish.
It not only gives pepper pot a distinct flavor, but it also acts as a preservative.
Region One is recognized for its rich source of Casareep production.
Other partners of the three-day workshop included the International Development Bank, Caricom, UWI, the Intellectual Property Office of Trinidad and Tobago and the Danish Technological Institute.