‘Pakaraima Flavours’ hits local supermarket

DPI Guyana, Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The ‘Pakaraima Flavours’ tomato ketchup and salad dressing are now available at all three (3) branches of the Bounty Supermarket in Georgetown, and the one (1) at Grove, East Bank Demerara.

Minister Valerie Garrido-Lowe displaying a pack of the sun-dried tomatoes.

‘Pakaraima Flavours’ is a product produced by Pakaraima Flavours Incorporated (PFI) at the Paramakatoi Food Processing, Training and Research Facility in Region Eight. The facility produces sun-dried tomatoes that are further processed into tomato salad dressing and ketchup.

In an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe said that the factory has thus far produced some 3,000 bottles of tomato ketchup and salad dressing respectively. She explained that the total amount was produced from a crop of 7,000 pounds of tomatoes which was reaped by the local farmers in Paramakatoi.

The Sun-dried Tomato Project is a collaborative effort. Minister Lowe approached with the Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST) with a proposal on establishing a project in Paramakatoi and requested their advice.  The institute responded by designing the program of which Professor Suresh Narine is the author of the concept for the venture.

Minister Lowe then championed it; secured funding from the Government and the Canadian High Commission; arranged consultations with the residents of Paramakatoi, Bamboo Creek and Mountain Foot and led the project at every stage.

Initially, the IAST recommended solar drying for the preservation of crops right within the region, in order to avoid spoilage that often occurs when being transported for long periods. The next step was to identify a crop that did not require significant capital expenditure to cultivate and would be amenable to drying.

Tomatoes were then selected because of the high popularity of sundried tomatoes and condiments made from them in Caribbean, North American and European markets. The National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) then prepared 5,000 seedlings for the first trial.

It was found that the varieties thrive well in the region, but there exists a need to further educate farmers on the proper timing for the transplanting of the seedlings. A series of workshops were held to educate farmers so that the efficiencies of production can be further improved.

Subsequently, the Paramakatoi Food Processing, Training and Research Facility was established. The facility includes a solar drying department and a dormitory. PFI processes and packages the sun-dried tomatoes for sale, whilst a portion is used to produce tomato ketchup and salad dressings at the IAST.

Today, the project is deemed one of the most thriving economic community ventures by the Indigenous peoples of the North Pakaraima. IAST continues to be engaged as the main executing agency working alongside the Minister of Social Protection and NAREI

Further details on the project will be disclosed at a later date to be announced.

The ‘Pakaraima Flavours’ tomato ketchup.

The ‘Pakaraima Flavours’ tomato ketchup on the shelves of the Bounty Supermarket at Regent Street Georgetown.

 

By: Synieka Thorne

 

For more photos, click on the link to the DPI’s Flickr Page

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