For a dedicated group of Matawai Maroon women who are cultivating pepper for income generation in villages along Suriname’s upper Saramacca River, ACT has provided an industrial pepper mill to alleviate their strenuous physical work. An additional hardship for the women posed by the previous method of grinding with mortar and pestle or manual coffee grinder was hours-long inhalation of pepper dust and the omnipresence of a pungent smell in the villages during that processing. In January 2016, almost all of the ten villages from Bethel to Vertrouw possessed large quantities of whole pepper, and all participating families were now able to grind their harvest in a matter of minutes.
The Matawai granman (chieftain) Leslie Valentijn has also promised to develop a specialized mill for processing the dryland or mountain aleisi (rice) cultivated by many Matawai families on tracts of one hectare or smaller. Dryland rice is consumed locally, but also processed into rice flour.
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