|Agro-Processing (Food and Drink products)|
The Agro-processing sector is mainly made up of small and medium sized enterprises in the processing of traditional agricultural products and fresh fruits and vegetables for domestic use and export including margarine, beer, jam’s and jelly’s, coconut oil, condiments and snacks, fruit juices, and various pastes. There are a number of competitive constraints that currently hinder the expansion of the agro- processing sector, including limited quantity and quality products, poor product consistency, expensive and unreliable transportation, poor quality packaging, fluctuating local prices and lack of cold storage. Moreover, in order to be successful, the processed foods industry requires an adequate supply of quality agricultural raw materials, which is where improvements in the fruits and vegetables supply chains will be imperative for future success of the sector.
Developing the sector is crucial in the drive to add value to the expanding production of raw non-traditional agricultural products; this will provide greater job creating opportunities while diversifying the economy. The sector has many linkages with other sectors in the value chain, such as agricultural inputs, transportation, packaging, marketing and distribution. Hence, the indirect impacts of development of the sector are significant and if additional valued can be added through further processing then actual economic impact will be substantially higher.
Moving forward to effectively compete against imported products and into export markets will require Guyana to meet the price, quality and delivery requirements demanded by the market; this will mean improving quality and cost of packaging materials and improving technology and manufacturing expertise in the sector. Some progress has been made; for example, technical assistance has been provided recently via the GTIS project to assist a local agro-processing firm to develop a packaging facility in order to respond to market demands and avoid the need to import high cost packaging. Such efforts need to continue.
Ongoing Actions and Planned Activities