Organic peanut butter project: Women’s group, Le Meridien form potentially viable partnership
Kaieteur News – March 30, 2008
The Blue Flame Women’s Group of North West District has started manufacturing peanut butter as a means of sustaining their income and Le Meridien Pegasus will be featuring this product.
Beginning last week, in an effort to promote the local food industry, the hotel started offering its guests the organic peanut butter as part of its breakfast buffet.
As such, Le Meridien Pegasus will partner with North West Organics to promote the product.
Speaking with Kaieteur News, Chairman of the Blue Flame Women’s group, Christina James, said that the group of women became interested in the peanut butter project after a noticing that the cocoa seeds were being wasted in the North West Area as a result of spoiling. She said that originally the women were involved in a sewing group but diverted their attention.
James added that the entire process of making the peanut butter is being done manually and can be laborious at times. The women discussed the peanut butter initiative with head of the Guyana Marine Turtle Conservation Society, Annette Arjoon, who assisted them with funding.
Now that they are manufacturing, Arjoon is looking for market and packaging for the group. However, the group needs machinery along with a proper facility to carry out their work.
As if luck is on their side, Ms. Annette Arjoon was the recipient of the 2008 Anthony Sabga Caribbean Award for Excellence in Public and Civic Service and received US$40,000.
She has since donated her winnings towards the project and will be utilizing her monetary award to mechanize the cocoa production.
Speaking with Kaieteur News, Ms. Arjoon said that the women are very excited about the project and she will be assisting them along the way.
She noted that this project is one of those that will indeed put the Caricom Single Market and Economy to the test for small producers like these women.
The group is hoping that their product is packaged and sold in the Caribbean. The most challenging tasks, Arjoon noted, is getting certification for the group. General Manager for Pegasus, Bert Plas, told Kaieteur News that a number of guests are interested in organic foods.
He added that the hotel has always tried to offer local products to its guests as a means of them experiencing the true Guyanese culture.
Additionally, he said that by offering the peanut butter, the small and medium-sized businesses will be supported.
Persons desirous of purchasing this product can do so in the office of the Guyana Marine Turtle Conservation Society’s office at Le Meridien Pegasus.
Once production is increased this will also be available in the leading supermarkets in Georgetown in the Custom designed North West Districts stands.
This initiative is intended to compliment the production of organic cocoa sticks which are hand rolled by the women’s group and which is exported to Canada and distributed to gourmet stores in Toronto.