Santa Rosa, Kwebanna to get cassava flour and coffee production facilities

DPI, Guyana, Monday, December 4, 2017

In an effort to create employment opportunities for indigenous women and youth, the government has set aside over $30 million to embark on income generating projects by promoting agriculture, agro and food-processing, eco-tourism and youth entrepreneurship in the hinterland regions.

Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe.

This is according to Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe, during her presentation on the first day of the 2018 National Budget Debate.

One such project is the establishment of a $10 million Coffee Production Facility in Santa Rosa, Region One. According to Minister Garrido-Lowe, the flagship project will generate much-needed revenue for the village, resulting in an improved standard of living for over 100 persons, including some 20 farmers, their families and businesses.

The sum of $10 million was also allocated for a Cassava Flour production plant in Kwebanna Village also in Region One. This economic venture will directly benefit some 1,000 residents in Kwebanna and surrounding communities including Waikarabie and Warapoka, and some 400 farmers along the Kumaka/Kwebanna road.

“The first peoples’ of this country produce a lot of cassava but Guyanese do not eat the amount of cassava bread or farine that they can produce… and anytime they plant more than they can eat and attempt to introduce it into the local Guyanese market, they suffer losses… Cassava is an absolutely healthy dietary choice which should have been promoted a long time ago to the entire Guyanese nation,” Minister Garrido-Lowe noted.

Communities, including Smith’s Creek and Imbotero in the Mabaruma sub-District, Region One, will also benefit from crab meat and fish processing project. These two communities have been existing on a day to day basis from the sale of crab and fish.  This processing and packaging facility will allow for a longer shelf life for crab meat and fish, creating more sales for these products.

Additionally, the sum of $10 million has been allocated for the Lapidary Workshop in Monkey Mountain. Introductory training will commence next week with 20 persons from the communities of Monkey Mountain, Tuseneng, Kurukabaru, Kato, and Mikwak. Participants of this two-week workshop will be trained to recognise and gather quality semi-precious stones, how to test them and to learn the history of the various stones.

In the second phase of training at least six of the participants will be trained in cutting, polishing, and jewellery making. Additionally, craftsmen and women will benefit by creating unique cases out of tibisiri, nibi, wood and spun cotton, for the different pieces of jewellery.

According to Minister Garrido-Lowe, the marketing of this business will be done via the internet giving anyone across the globe an opportunity to shop for exotic indigenous jewellery produced by indigenous people.

Another positive spin-off from this economic venture is tourism. Visitors will be taken on semi-precious stone hunting and gathering trips and taught how to recognise quality stones. They will also be able to select the stones they wish to craft their jewellery pieces from, after which the lapidary workshop will produce the pieces for them. This project will create employment for at least 20 persons in each of the five communities that will be involved and an additional ten more in Monkey Mountain itself.

These are just a few of the transformative economic ventures that the government will be supporting in 2018 towards the economic empowerment of the Indigenous people.

 

By: Synieka Thorne

 

 

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