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Story Highlights

  • A processing plant is currently being constructed in St. Elizabeth to produce cassava and sweet potato flour, to supply the local baking industry.
  • To be managed by the University of the West Indies (UWI), the entity will be located at the Sydney Pagon Agricultural School.
  • The Government has been working to form alliances with academia and the private sector to undertake collaborative research, aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity.

A processing plant is currently being constructed in St. Elizabeth to produce cassava and sweet potato flour, to supply the local baking industry.

To be managed by the University of the West Indies (UWI), the entity will be located at the Sydney Pagon Agricultural School (formerly Elim Agricultural School).

Making the announcement during his contribution to the 2014/15 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on April 23, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, said this undertaking is being carried out with funding support from the Government of Colombia.

He noted that this arrangement is part of a partnership between the UWI and the Latin American and Caribbean Consortium to Support Cassava Research and Development (CLAYUCA) of Colombia, to conduct research on cassava production and processing.

Mr. Clarke said the Government has been working to form alliances with academia and the private sector to undertake collaborative research, aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity.

In this vein, he pointed to the Ministry’s co-operation with brewing company, Red Stripe’s parent company, Diageo, to use locally grown cassava in their beer formulation, thus replacing imported barley.

“The first 26 acres of cassava have been planted, and we are working with Diageo to establish best practices to obtain maximum yields, before the project is rolled out to our farmers,” he said.

The Minister noted, however, that as the Ministry increases its collaboration with academia, it has been recognized that the various curricula in its agricultural tertiary institutions are not aligned with the needs of the sector.

“In this regard, I am working closely with my colleague Minister of Education (Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites), to totally revamp the content and offering of these institutions and to position them to make a significant contribution to our food safety objectives, given their land resources,” he said.