Red Stripe to Engage More Farmers in Cassava Cultivation

Photo: Mark Bell Local Raw Material Business Development Manager for Red Stripe, Dr. Cavell Francis-Rhiney (right), shakes hands with Director of the Office of Environment and Health, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Jamaica, Sara Buchanan (left). This was shortly before the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Red Stripe and the USAID-funded Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change II (Ja REEACH II) Project for the provision of technical support to boost commercial cassava production under Red Stripe’s Project Grow initiative. The signing ceremony was held on Friday, July 7 at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston. Looking on are board member of Ja REEACH, Mortimer Neufville (2nd left); and Chairman of the Desnoes and Geddes Foundation, operating company for Red Stripe, Noel DaCosta.

Story Highlights

  • Red Stripe will be engaging an additional 200 farmers to cultivate cassava under its Project Grow initiative.
  • The farmers under contract are from the parishes of St. Elizabeth, St. Catherine, St. Ann, St. Thomas, St. Mary, Clarendon and Manchester.
  • Red Stripe is looking to replace 40 per cent of maltose syrup by 2020 and already has more than 2,000 acres of land under cassava production.

Red Stripe will be engaging an additional 200 farmers to cultivate cassava under its Project Grow initiative.

They will add to the 103 farmers who have already been contracted by the company to grow the crop as a source of raw material to substitute for the imported high-maltose corn syrup used in the production of its world-famous Red Stripe Beer.

The farmers under contract are from the parishes of St. Elizabeth, St. Catherine, St. Ann, St. Thomas, St. Mary, Clarendon and Manchester.

Red Stripe is looking to replace 40 per cent of maltose syrup by 2020 and already has more than 2,000 acres of land under cassava production.

“In terms of Red Stripe farms, we are at 1,000 acres, and with the farmers we have recruited, we now have arable land totalling 1,159 acres,” said Local Raw Material Business Development Manager for Red Stripe, Dr. Cavell Francis-Rhiney.

She was speaking at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United States Agency for International Development (USAD)–funded Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change II project (Ja REEACH II) to provide technical assistance to boost commercial cassava production.

The signing ceremony was held on July 7 at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston.

Under the agreement, Ja REEACH II will provide support in refining research and training programmes; delivering farmer training; collaborating with local partners to implement research and field trials to identify high-yielding, drought-tolerant cassava varieties; propagate high-yielding planting materials; and identify and test complementary crops for intercropping and rotation.

Ja REEACH II will mobilise its local technical-assistance-delivery team to support the training objectives. This will be complemented by international support from experts from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Delaware State University, and Tuskegee University.

The United States-based institutions are partner universities of the ACDI/VOCA, which is the implementing agency for Ja REEACH.

Teams from Ja REEACH II, Project Grow and the universities conducted site visits to local farms between July 4 and 7, to develop an implementation plan for the technical cooperation.

“Our initiative with Ja REEACH and the universities will push forward the research activities that we have identified as important for the farmers to be successful at this venture,” said Dr. Francis-Rhiney.

Meanwhile, Director of the Office of Environment and Health, USAID Jamaica, Sara Buchanan, expressed support for Project Grow.

“Of particular value are the improved economic opportunities for small-scale farmers and sustainable employment for youth,” she noted.

Ja REEACH II works with Jamaican public- and private-sector organisations to protect and sustain agriculture and natural-resource-based livelihoods.

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