The following article was published by Kaieteur News on Feb 20, 2017.
The Ministry of Social Protection will be collaborating with the Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST) to provide jobs for the residents of Hiowa village. Plans are underway to establish a production facility for orange marmalade in the village. Hiowa is a small Indigenous community located in Region Nine, with a population of about 400 persons. The residents are mostly involved in farming of citrus crops. Oranges are usually harvested by thousands and sold to other villages. The former Minister of Social Cohesion, Amna Ally (now Minister of Social Protection) during a visit in 2016, had proposed the establishment of a unit to produce marmalade – a preserve made from citrus fruits, especially bitter oranges, prepared like jam. Director of the IAST, Dr. Suresh Narine told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that the Ministry of Social Protection will be funding the establishment of a facility which will be manufacturing and marketing orange marmalade. This project will be coordinated and supervised by the IAST.
“We were informed by the residents that Hiowa has large numbers of orange trees, and we are currently putting together the final project document in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Protection to construct a facility there to produce orange marmalade. IAST has already formulated the marmalade and has branded, packaged and market tested the product in advance of the facility being built so that we can move quickly with it,” Dr. Narine said.
Apart from creating employment for villagers, this project will see persons being trained in the manufacturing and marketing fields. This facility should increase economic viability within the community.
“The name of the marmalade is ‘The Taste of Hiowa Organic Orange Marmalade’; the bottle reads “Enjoy the taste of Hiowa’s organic oranges sustainably grown on the pristine slopes of the Kanuku Mountains, ripened by the crisp clean mountain air and fed by crystal clear springs. Handpicked by the Macushi Peoples of the Region, our oranges are gently stirred in traditional open pans to give you a delicious robust marmalade,” Dr. Narine highlighted.
IAST continues to undertake projects aimed at enhancing the livelihoods of Indigenous farmers and producers in Regions Eight and Nine with funding from the government. The Director stated that the entire Geographical Location of the Rupununi and High Pakaraimas in itself is a marketing strategy.
When in production, the intent is to have both national and international distribution in keeping with the model adopted by the IAST for its successful Rupununi Essence line of cosmetics, 100% of the profits will be reimbursed to the Hiowa community.