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Approximately 15 entrepreneurs in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are engaged in a one-week training course in fruit drying, which ends Friday with an exhibition on Friday at the Centre of Excellence at Diamond.

The fruit drying training is facilitated by the Government of Colombia and executed through the Ministry of Education’s Adult and Continuing Education Department, with support from the Ministries of Agriculture and Foreign Affairs and is being conducted at the Centre of Excellence at Diamond.

Acting Director of the Adult and Continuing Education Department, Kathleen Jeffers told the opening ceremony that the training is the third phase of the fruit-drying project.

She said that the first two phases, a cocoa cultivation and harvesting course and a workshop on good manufacturing practices were conducted in August 2017.

Jeffers added that the Adult and Continuing Education Department knows the significance of providing opportunities for the adult population so that they can gain new knowledge and information, which will enable them to gain employment or to establish their own businesses.

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Meanwhile, Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Beverly Neptune, stressed the importance of the initiative and said that this could be a game changer for local entrepreneurs.

She said that with the amount of fruits usually left for waste in SVG, gaining knowledge on fruit drying will benefit the country immensely, adding that she looks forward to seeing local dried-fruits on supermarket shelves in the near future from the entrepreneurs involved in the training.

The Ministry of Agriculture is supporting the Ministry of Education as an important stakeholder in this initiative.

Agriculture Diversification Officer Colville King encouraged the participants to make the most of the opportunity and to learn as much as they can to build their skills in fruit drying.

King said that the demand for dried fruits is growing globally and that training in the area will add great value to SVG.

And, Academic Coordinator of the Columbian Programme, Oscar Gelvezs said that the Columbian team is happy to be in SVG to bring their expertise in the area of fruit drying. He said that it is an area in which the Columbians are strong, having trained millions over the years.

2 replies on “Entrepreneurs trained in fruit drying”

  1. C. Ben-David says:

    This is potentially a good initiative but calling it a “game changer,” something every government official calls any new project in SVG, regardless of its potential, is laughable.

    The problem in making this a commercially viable undertaking depends, as usual, in ensuring a steady supply and reliable supply of inexpensive fruit with mango and papaya heading the list of viable fruit to dry.

    But our people consume little imported dried fruit except for baking cakes so publicizing the benefits of dried fruit would also be important.

    As for export markets, these are already dominated by large multinational producers and retailers.

    Also, fruit drying kits for home use have been available on the Internet for years although our climate (at least in the dry season) allows for more traditional sun drying techniques.

    We could do much more in the field of import substitution if we had a large and steady supply of cheap produce to work with. At the end of the day, our problem always comes down to economies of scale.

    Still, this is worth a try if only because agricultural production will always be our economic mainstay on the mainland.

  2. This is indeed most wonderful news that is well overdue. Let us hope that both the Government and the local financial institutions here, would go out of their way, to assist in any applications for business development Grants and Loans to set up such business, that these trained fruit dryers may have mind.

    They may yet need development Grants and Loans in order to assist them in any enterprise development that they as trained individuals, with businesses in mind may needs to pursue. They may need also running cost finance, not only to purchase equipment, hire staff and develop the business but also in order to explore export opportunities.

    We say good luck guys, the future is yours to explore! Where prosperity may await!

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