In our continuing series on Youth in Aariculture, we share the experiences of Anastasha Elliot of St. Kitts and Nevis. She is the winner of the Caribbean Category of the Youth Agripreneur Project hosted by the Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR) and the Young Professionals for Agricultural Research and Development.
‘Anything you do with normal flour you can do with banana flour. You are replacing the white flour with a healthy alternative. It has a sweet taste but there’s no sugar. I’ve found that when you dry out products, you get a little sweetness.’ – Tonya Ifill
IF ONE ENTREPRENEUR has her way, more consumers will be setting aside their wheat, cassava and sweet potato products for those made with green bananas.
Tonya Ifill, owner and operator of Carlesa’s Enterprises pioneered flour and pasta made from the unripened fruit. Ifill was attending Agrofest when she spoke with BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY.
She got the idea while participating in an agro-processing course at the Guyana School of Agriculture. As a group project, participants had to come up with a product that was new to the South American country.
“I did sweet potato and brown rice pasta and got my cousin to export a pasta machine from Canada and I was ready. When I came back [to Barbados], I was looking for something different to work with instead of the same sweet potato and cassava. I researched green bananas, asked around for some and started my trials and it took off from there,” she said.
Young entrepreneurs from across the region got the opportunity to showcase their products at the Caribbean Week of Agriculture 2016 which was held recently in the Cayman Islands. The Youth and Agriculture Programmes at the CARICOM Secretariat and IICA with support from the Intra-ACP APP and the EU recently collaborated to have the event where these youths got the opportunity to showcase their products.
We caught up with a few of the participants from the event and they said they were very grateful for the opportunity.
I want to extend my sincere gratitude towards the sponsors who made this event possible. As a young entrepreneur this was an extraordinary opportunity for me to be able to showcase my products on a bigger market. It gave me the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs and it was even an eye opener to take better care of my financial matters, said Vanessa Grootfam owner of Queen Van Hair and Nails in Suriname.
Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) officially opened in the Cayman Islands Wednesday morning with a call by CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, for participation by a wider cross-section of stakeholders.
“We must promote this event in such a manner that would bring about wider participation of all stakeholders, our farmers, the private sector, buyers and sellers, youth, women, our development partners, our institutions and agencies and our policy-makers as we seek to further develop the sector. That must be our goal,” he told the large audience at the Westin Resort in Grand Cayman.
CWA is the Caribbean’s premier agriculture event that was first held in Trinidad and Tobago in 1999. This year is historic. It is the first time that the CWA is being held in an Associate Member of CARICOM. There are more than 300 participants attending seminars and workshops under the theme ‘Investing in food and agriculture’.
“As we seek to attract investment in both small and large scale agri-business initiatives, there must be encouragement for our youth, women and small scale farmers to play a greater part,” he said.
Kamarsha Sylvester is the proprietor of Taste of Eden, an agro-processing business that sells teabags (various flavours), green seasoning and dried seasoning. ‘Taste of Eden’ will be one of ten youth entrepreneurial businesses that will be on display at the Caribbean Week of Agriculture being held in the Cayman Islands 24-28 October, 2016.
According to Kamarsha, the business aims to produce quality products at affordable prices.
“In order to have a competitive edge, as a growth strategy, Taste of Eden will cater to its customers’ needs by building a relationship with its customers and continue to be dependable,” she said.
The owner’s ultimate dream is to build a reputation resulting from top quality products and customer satisfaction.
She said she routinely does evaluation so that customers could indicate when their needs were not being met. According to her, Taste of Eden plans to become a major competition to businesses locally, regionally and internationally.
“Being a product of the Nature Isle, Taste of Eden takes the slogan “go green” very seriously,” shes said.