Farmer to Farmer Trip Report
Fruit & Vegetable Processing
Guyana South America
Feb 13-28, 2006
I came to Guyana to conduct an assessment of current winemaking processing, and to
teach, aid and assist various groups in the Pomeroon, Berbice and Georgetown areas. For
the most part, winemaking does not exist on a commercial level in Guyana (except of a
fake wine made at the Banks brewery). My main goal was to provide the guidance and
training of the winemaking process and equipment required. My primary contact was Mr.
Shaun Francis, Field Officer – Partners of the Americas, Farmer to Farmer Program,
which whom I am greatly indebted for making this assignment possible.
One of the major challenges of this assignment was that no actual winemaking equipment
or ingredients were readily available in country. This required us to improvise as much as
possible to begin the winemaking process. I brought various reference materials in
regards to winemaking and specifically for tropical fruits. This material was photocopied
into a winemaking manual and distributed to the various groups. The project received
publicity with air time on the local TV station (channel 8) in Charity on Feb 20, an article
in the Feb 23 Kaieteur News, and we were interviewed for the Stabroek News, not sure if
or when the article did or would appear.
With all the groups started in winemaking, a future Farmer to Farmer assignment would
be a winemaker and marketing volunteer to return in 6-8 months to assess the success of
the various groups in their winemaking, and also to assist them in the bottling, labeling
and marketing their wine on a local commercial level.
To the best of my knowledge, this is a pioneer project, with no previous volunteer visits
in regards to winemaking. The main purpose of my assignment is to assist and provide
guidance to various small cottage associations in planning and beginning their juice and
winemaking processing strategies.
During my assignment, I met and worked with the following groups:
1. The Original Juice Centre, Nateram Ramnannan & Ishrie Ramnarine, Charity
2. Pomeroon Women’s Small Cottage Assn (PWSCA) Vilma DaSilva, Charity
3. Linchfield YMCA Group, Pauline Wade Lichfield, West Coast Berbice and
Glynis Alonzo-Beaton General Secretary YWCA-Guyana, Georgetown
I first worked the Original Juice Centre, (Feb 16-19, 2006) the most advanced of the
groups. They have an existing juice processing and marketing venture with a
processing plant at the home of Nateram Ramnannan. Using their existing equipment
Mr. Ramnannan and Ramnarine, along with family members, processed guava,
passion fruit and cherries, along with sugar, yeast and water into the primary stage of
winemaking. After one week, they transferred the wine into the secondary stage,
which should last approximately three months, and the final stage for the finished
wine to be bottled and labeled.
Next I worked with the Pomeroon Women’s Small Cottage Assn (Feb 21-22), which
consisted of nine members of the association. Some but not all had prior wine making
experience with star fruit. On the 21st they processed guava, passion fruit and cherries
along with sugar, yeast and water into the primary stage of winemaking. After one
week, they will then transfer the wine into the secondary stage, lasting approximately
three months, and the final stage for the finished wine to be bottled and labeled.
On Feb 14 made a visit to Linchfield YMCA Group to assess their level in the
winemaking process. I gave them a winemaking overview, and arranged to return in a
week to teach the process. We returned on Feb 24th and purchased plum and passion
fruit for the winemaking along with sugar, yeast and water. The Linchfield YMCA,
group also contributed gooseberries. Five members of group then processed the fruit,
adding sugar, water and yeast to begin the winemaking process. I explained what they
needed to accomplish to in the following stages to complete the winemaking process.
I feel that I provided the basic information for the cottage associations and juice
centers to begin winemaking; using the existing crude materials, equipment and
ingredients. The training manual that each group received should answer most
questions they may have. The groups will need to experiment with the various fruits
and obtain proper winemaking equipment and ingredients to make wine on a
professional commercial level.
I suggested they attend, the Winery Unlimited Trade Show in Lancaster, Pa. USA,
March 12-15 2206 to examine the various winemaking equipment and ingredients
available along with meeting industry personnel to discuss their projects.
To insure success of the project, the first attempt at winemaking by these groups
needs to be monitored to see that they have followed the winemaking processes.
This can be accomplished by visits from the Field Officer, as well as phone,
and/or email communication with him and/or the volunteer.
A future Farmer to Farmer assignment would be a winemaker and/or marketing
volunteer to return in 6-8 months to assess the success of the various groups in
their winemaking, and to assist them in the bottling, labeling and marketing their
wine on a local commercial level.
A winemaking training film would be helpful so that others could learn the
process. This film could be made at the Farmer-to-Farmer office, with the
assistance of the field officer and also one of the cottage groups.
I plan to attend the Wineries Unlimited Trade Fair in March 2006 and meet with
various winemaking equipment firms. I will give them the Farmer to Farmer
field office address in Guyana for them to send literature of their products.
I enjoyed my stay in Guyana working with the various groups. I especially
enjoyed living with the families of the hosts and got to experience Guyana life
and culture, which is preferable to a solo hotel stay.
I want to thank the Shaun Francis Family, Vilma DaSilva, and the Nateram
Ramnannan Family for sharing their homes, meals and families with me.