Jamaica expanding cassava industry with help from Colombia
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Government is moving to expand the cassava industry through partnerships with the private sector and the University of the West Indies, with support from the Colombian government.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, said the partnership between government and the manufacturer of Jamaican beer Red Stripe, which is using the tuber as part of its brewing process, has shown that the industry can grow.
Her administration is now eyeing other possibilities.
“As this new industry develops, I look forward to the opening soon, of a new cassava processing plant in Elim, St. Elizabeth, and thanks to the Government of Colombia for having provided this gift,” she said.
“We are also strengthening the cassava industry by working with the University of the West Indies, to produce cassava flour for use in the baking of bread.”
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister emphasized that a vibrant agricultural industry was required for rural development and the nation’s food security, and a foundation has been laid for “sustained increase in production” with the development of the Agro Parks project.
She said the initiative has helped to reduce imports and increase exports.
“In doing so, we have been able to save millions of dollars as we import less, and earn more from export,” Simpson-Miller said, while lauding the over 200 farmers who have “shown resilience” despite the many challenges facing the sector.
“At the global level, I have been leading efforts to secure environmental cooperation and financing to help our farmers to plan for, and recover from events like droughts, hurricanes and sea level rise.”
She committed her government’s support in tackling the various issues threatening the sector, such as bush fires and drought.