Farine Fiesta
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Farine Fiesta organisers and participants at Sophia Exhibition Centre on Monday
Farine Fiesta organisers and participants at Sophia Exhibition Centre on Monday

IN observance of Amerindian Heritage Month 2017, a Farine Fiesta was held under the theme “Promoting the versatility of Farine”, an activity which was geared towards the sensitisation of the use and nutritional benefits of farine.

General Manager of Guyana Marketing Corporation, Ms. Ida Sealey-Adams, the event was the first of a series of events which were planned, and the idea was birthed when they recognised that there were so many groups in the interior that are involved in the production of farine.

Unfortunately, though, not many persons on the coastland know how to prepare and consume farine and the products that are derived from it, hence the GMA thought of the initiative to highlight the use of the commodity with the idea of having more persons utilise it.

“We recognised that it cannot be used exclusively to prepare any meals, but it can make a variety of dishes,” Sealey-Adams said.

The event was a collaborative effort between the Guyana Marketing Corporation, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (ICCA) and the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs.

Sealey-Adams stated that a comparative analysis was done by GMC as it relates to brown rice and found that farine contains less carbohydrates and it is gluten free for health-conscious folks.

She disclosed that two groups from the Wowetta Women Agro Processors from the interior were invited to the Farine Fiesta, to sell the product and that samples of meats, muffins, pancakes, and fish were made available for visitors.

Representatives from several institutions that prepare large quantities of foods, along with students from the Guyana School of Agriculture, the Guyana Prison Service, the Guyana Defence Force and the Carnegie School of Home Economics, also attended the event which was held at the Amerindian Heritage Village at Sophia Exhibition Centre, Sophia last Monday.

Agriculture Health Specialist, Ms. Maxine Parris-Agron said ICCA, an international organisation had partnered with two other agencies to finance the preparation of modern dishes made from farine, as part of their contribution.
Meanwhile, Omar Bispat Project Manager of Amerindian Development Fund said his organisation partnered with the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) on projects that promote the development of Amerindian villages in 161 communities across Guyana.

He stated that the projects are based on the products of cassava and agriculture but from cassava they make farine and other by-products of cassava.

He said too a trivia was held for members of public to have a chance to win a quantity of free farine by answering some farine-related questions correctly.

The group said that they were pleased to be a part of the event which attracted scores of Guyanese, who showed up to have a taste of the tantalising Amerindian dishes available and to make purchases.

Farine, a versatile commodity, is a traditional Amerindian staple made from cassava roots. It is used by the indigenous Amerindians of Guyana, particularly those in the Rupununi Savannahs, Region Nine.

The origin seems to point to the Indigenous tribes that migrated from Brazil (e.g. Wapishana).

Hence, the word farine is from the Portuguese word “farinha” which means “flour”.
The Rupununi is known for its roasted meats, fried Tasso, Boiley and Tuma pot. None of these dishes are complete without this traditional staple, Farine.

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