Twelve years ago while walking in the rain with a friend and picking up a tamarind and experimenting with it, has jump-started Co-owner of Jo-d’s Treats, Marcia Dean to operate a local sweets enterprise in Antigua.
Ms. Dean now specializes in local sweets such as; raspberry jam, sugar cake, coconut bread, tamarind stew and much more which she does on a small scale and she also sells her products to other local business entities.
However, Ms. Dean said that she hopes to go bigger with Jo-d’s Treats and distribute to local supermarkets and even export to countries where most of her international customers are located.
Dean will be a first time vendor at this year’s PineappleMangoFest (PiAngoFest) where she has been challenged to incorporate mango and pineapple into these sweet treats.
Dean listed local mango ice cream, mango cheese and mango fudge as just some of the few goodies she will have at PiAngoFest.
She noted that one of the things she is looking forward to the most at PineappleMangoFest is being able to get the exposure with her business and also to see what other vendors have done to incorporate the pineapple and mango into different products.
When asked about what support she has received in regards to the Ministry of Agriculture and the government, Dean stated that the Inter- American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) has been very supportive.
Although she recognized the role that the government is playing in assisting local entrepreneurs, she believes that more can be done.
‘”They should get an organization in place where the person we are expressing our goals to listens and can help resource things,” stated Ms. Dean.
Due to the recent ban on plastic products, Dean noted that she has now implemented biodegradable packaging for her products which has put her in great expense, especially since she has to buy them online.
She thinks that the government should offer more assistance in providing small entrepreneurs in her field of business with these containers and also help them with exporting their products and producing on a larger scale.
In addition, Ms. Dean is urging her colleagues to always support each other in any way possible and called on nationals to continue to support local businesses and products.