Guyana has suffered from lack of ‘name recognition’ – Business Director
The Government is looking to implement a system for geographical indications to promote local goods and services to the international market.
Geographical indications are names or brands which identify goods coming from a particular area with a certain quality and reputation.
The Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) hosted a workshop on Thursday at Regency Suites, Hadfield Street, Georgetown with the representatives of local companies which have products that could be labelled with geographical indications.
The geographical indications initiative is part of a larger project, namely, the $9 million Inter-American Development Bank project called – Enhancing the National Quality Infrastructure for Economic Diversification and Trade Promotion.
Dominic Gaskin, the Director of Business, said the project is designed to support Guyana’s exports.
“Guyana has for a very long time suffered from a lack of name recognition until recently the discoveries of oil have put Guyana on the map and a lot more people around the world are now more familiar with the name Guyana,” Gaskin said.
The use of geographical indications has not yet been incorporated into the international export strategy in Guyana but is being used privately.
Gaskin noted that the relevant stakeholders need to expand their understanding of geographical indications and how the system can benefit the country when it is applied.
IDB Consultant on the project, Bernard O’Connor, in his address said Guyana’s most famous geographical indication is Demerara with products such as rum, sugar and molasses.
“Through geographical indications, we try and capture the recognition but we are doing something a little bit more; we are trying to capture a culture, a tradition a way of doing this that gives certain characteristic to the different products,” he said.
O’Connor said persons tend to pay more for exclusive brands and Guyana has a lot to offer in this regard with its unique community names.
“There is an economic aspect at the consumer level.
“The consumer – certainly in the European Union, in South America and in other Caribbean countries -when they see that a product has a geographical indication most often they are willing to pay a little bit more.
“It’s that simple because they recognize that there is some form of a standard,” O’Connor said.
The Government has asked GNBS to build capacity to be able to monitor and conduct audits to ensure that the geographical indication is properly used and properly complied with.
“This will help to enhance the quality of local products and boost competitiveness to further improve the economic situation with producers, agricultural and none traditional products,” Business Minister Haimraj Rajkumar said.
He believes that cassareep can be a potential product for geographical indication.
The Business Minister said the faster that Guyana can implement the geographical indications, the faster the rest of the world can be familiar with the country through its products.