In 2020, the D Kats Women’s Cooperative was formed in Union, St. Andrews, Grenada. It consists of six women who are all the head of single-parent households. The women are primarily involved in value-added product development using locally sourced fresh fruits. Prior to this activity many of the raw products used in their operations were wasted/discarded.
The government has supported the establishment of this group by providing infrastructure, inputs and training in areas such as conflict resolution and personal hygiene. The manager of the group Goslyn Blackette acknowledges that through empowerment, the women now have the means to earn a livelihood, support their families and build their community. The work of the women is also helping to tackle a big problem in agriculture that of food loss/wastage. The FAO estimates that one-third of the food produced globally is lost or goes to waste.
Under the recently concluded FAO/CARDI Solar Project, the group was the beneficiary of a solar dryer that is located on the rooftop of the community centre, from where they operate. This will be used for the drying of fruits and root crops (sweet potato and cassava) to make flour in the future. The women also received training in sweet potato flour making under the project and are very keen to put the theoretical knowledge gained into practice. The project also supplied a hammer mill which they will use for grinding.
The D Kats Women’s group plans to market their range of sweet and savoury fruit based snacks at schools, local shops and supermarkets. Very soon they hope to also get into the processing of fresh fruit juices. With a label designed for their products done in collaboration with the Bureau of Standards and a tagline line, “taste that lasts forever,” already established, the group envisions that their products will hit the market later this year as they are on a mission to promote healthier eating through the increased utilisation of local produce.
CARDI remains committed to supporting women across the agriculture value chain.