Vice-President of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA), Ramsay Ali, believes local produce meets the appropriate safety standards to be exported and should be promoted more.
He told the News Room during a recent interview that many local businesses are also currently being trained to meet regional and international phytosanitary regulations.
This is necessary before these products can be sold or distributed for public consumption.
“We have people helping them with developing their labels, we have people helping them with quality control, finding the right kind of equipment so they can bottle things more sanitary and all of that,” Ali said.
He added that quality control for products, especially bottled, is very important; he noted that GMSA members are aware of this.
Through training to properly package products, these businesses have managed to improve their service and quality of their products. Ali explained that almost 40 of some 65 members have products that satisfy the sanitary regulations to be exported.
He said that previously, these businesses had small bottles with little labels, but now they have received the assistance to “up their game.”
“We have been working with them to improve their business and their products…packaging quality control, teaching them how to do business and find markets for their products,” Ali said.
He told the News Room that these workshop sessions that educate persons about measures to improve the quality and safety of their products are continuously being offered to members of the GMSA.
Ali further explained that the sessions are being conducted by local companies, including Sterling Products Limited, Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) and Banks DIH, who have people who are trained in quality control to ensure the products meet the standards of phytosanitary measures.
He also said that some of the members have related that they are interested in becoming Guyana National Bureau of Standard (GNBS) certified.
To be certified by the GNBS, a business will have to meet several requirements to be deemed safe and usable.
The GMSA Vice-President said the association through its Uncapped initiative helps to find distributors for these companies once they meet safety and export criteria.
Local supermarkets are distributors of these products.
“We have a relationship with supermarket chains, Bounty Farm, DSL we get them to stock the smaller business products,” Ali said.
But he noted that small businesses need to be supported more. He said the GMSA is trying to promote the sale of local products but there needs to be more investments in these businesses.
He said small business owners face challenges that include financing and acquiring sufficient space for their business to grow.
Ali added that many small business owners lose out because of this. He said that the Small Business Bureau (S.B.B.) has given assistance to these businesses but he added that more support through facilitating equipment and space is needed.