For two weeks in October, Dr. Shawn Daly, director of student global experience and professor of marketing and international business at Niagara University, worked with a family-owned agribusiness in Guyana as a volunteer with Farmer to Farmer, a USAID-funded program that supports farmers and agribusiness professionals in developing and transitional countries to promote sustainable improvements in food security and agricultural processing, production, and marketing.
Daly traveled to Essequibo, a region of Guyana, where he helped Nateram Ramnanan, owner of Original Juice, as he prepared to expand his business in Guyana. Daly originally intended to help build the brand by creating a new logo and modern labels for the wide array of fruit juices and wines Ramnanan, known as the “Juice Man,” produces. But he quickly discovered that there were other important issues that he could help address, including sales promotions to enable Original Juice to compete in the modern retail arena; packaging that would allow Original Juice to move beyond fresh and refrigerated juices to the on-the-shelf/long shelf-life category of juices; and exploring the option of eco-factory tourism. He also emphasized the importance of succession planning with Ramnanan, whose four children work with him.
“The purpose of my trip was to assist Original Juice in moving from a local entrepreneurial provider of fresh juice to a more mature company, capable of competing with both larger Guyanese companies and foreign imported products in the burgeoning retail marketplace,” Daly said. “The ‘Juice Man’ is a hard-working, self-made entrepreneur who eagerly wants to try new ideas and experiment with everything. While some of the improvements we discussed may require follow-up visits, the Juice Man started on some of the work even before I left town.”
During his visit, Daly met with dozens of Original Juice vendors and distributors and discussed opportunities for collaboration with other business owners in the local supply chain, including Luke’s Manufacturing, Jamal Distribution, and Iman Bacchus and Sons, one of the most successful private sector business enterprises in the history of Essequibo. He also was interviewed about the project on Essequibo Public Radio by the mayor of Anna Regina, the capital of the Pomeroon-Supenaam region of Guyana.
While Ramnanan has already implemented several short-term improvements, such as the new logo and more focused sales promotions, Daly anticipates returning to Guyana in 2023 to follow up on his longer term recommendations, which include testing and packaging that would enable Ramnanan to provide a more shelf-stable juice; implementing ISO 9000 process and quality-control measures to ensure product consistency; and building the Original Juice brand by creating tours around the growing, processing, packaging, and distribution of the juices.