Dr. Shawn Daly, director of student global experience and professor of marketing and international business at Niagara University, spent 10 days in April assisting two Guyanese entrepreneurs 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.
In Guyana, Dr. Daly continued the work he had begun in October 2022 with Nateram Ramnanan, “Juiceman,” owner of Original Juice. He also met with John Luke, owner of Luke’s Manufacturing, which is preparing to move into a new operations facility in mid-2023.
The focus of this visit was to assist both men move their businesses to the “next level”—from local entrepreneurial providers of fresh juice and other related products to more mature companies, capable of competing with some of the larger companies in Guyana and abroad for shelf space and sales in the burgeoning retail marketplace.
Dr. Daly worked with Ramnanan to develop processes and packaging that would allow Original Juice to move beyond fresh/refrigerated juices to the on-the-shelf, long shelf-life category of juices, and with Luke on site design to improve food safety and efficiency in his new facility. He also assisted both businessmen with a Guyanese FDA inspection and with preparations for future planned operations.
“Both the Juiceman and John Luke are hard-working, self-made entrepreneurs who eagerly try new ideas and experiment with everything,” Dr. Daly said. “From processes and procedures to marketing and business, they are up for learning and growing as businesspeople. Each business is ready to make a leap from being a local concern toward competing against both larger Guyanese companies and foreign imported products. Thus, while some improvements may require follow-up visits, they each have started on some of the work even before I left town. I feel confident about Luke’s and Original Juice’s uptake of the many short- to medium-term recommendations we discussed.”
During his time in Guyana, Dr. Daly was also interviewed for stories and a promotional video being produced by Partners of the Americas, the NGO that operates Farmer to Farmer in Central America, and was nominated for its Volunteer of the Year award by the Guyanese people he worked with. He noted that Partners of the Americas initially connected with him because of his work with Niagara University’s Food Industry Center of Excellence. This connection has led to a future service opportunity with Catholic Relief Services and Farmer to Farmer in Rwanda in May, where Dr. Daly will be helping a rural pineapple wine cooperative write its five-year marketing and business plan.