Long before first gold was poured at Newmont’s Merian mine on October 1, 2016, our team was working on the ground with local stakeholders to support sustainable development in the nine villages near the mine.
Included in our efforts to catalyze long-term socio-economic development in the region is local capacity and skills training. On June 8, 2016, Newmont Suriname hosted a training program on contemporary methods for cooking a popular dish in the region – cassava bread.
The cassava plant is cultivated as an annual crop in many tropical and subtropical countries and, in Suriname, it is a major staple in the culinary culture of the indigenous people. The training course aimed to expand the traditional methods of processing cassava from baking bread to baking crackers through peer-to-peer mentorship.
With support from Advice for Business Innovation and Creation (ABIC) and the steering group for Development of the Cassava Sector Para, three instructors traveled to the Merian site from the District of Para to share their cassava cracker cooking techniques with four women from Badaa Tabiki, a village in the Pamaka community.
During the course, the instructors not only shared recipe ingredients and techniques, but also discussed the importance of hygiene in professional food preparation and provided the students with techniques for packaging and labelling their products for market appeal.
In total, the women baked 585 crackers in a variety of flavors such as cheese, garlic, cocoa and sesame. Due to limited time, students were provided with the leftover ingredients so that they could continue to test flavor combinations and spend more time practicing their newly acquired cassava cooking skills.
Newmont Suriname is currently working with ABIC to facilitate a second training session that would focus on effective ways to market the crackers for local distribution and sale.
Read more about Newmont’s efforts to strengthen the communities where we live and work in our 2016 Beyond the Mine report.