Dr. Tufton Says Cassava Making Significant Strides


Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. Christopher Tufton is touting cassava as having made significant strides during the past year, with a number of products on the market.
Making his contribution to the Sectoral Debate Tuesday (July 7), Dr. Tufton applauded some private sector entities for having taken up the challenge of producing value-added products from cassava.
He singled out the Jamaica Producers Group whose cassava chips, during the past year, grossed $40-$50 million in local sales. The company is also now exporting the product.
“The farmers last year were making $7 and $8 per pound for cassava. When I talk to them, they are telling me that they are selling cassava at anywhere between $13 and $20 per pound, and the value-added processors are also making money,” the Minister stated.
“As a country that is confronted with an immediate crisis, with trends that suggest that we must now adjust our mindset to produce more from our local foods, the cassava represents for us, as a people, one of our oldest foods on which the foundation of this country was built,” Dr. Tufton argued.
Last year in his budget presentation, he disclosed that the Ministry was in the process of conducting a comprehensive development study, to explore the viability of growing cassava for human consumption, animal feed, pharmaceuticals and bio-fuels.
He also stated that the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) was working with small farmers to grow more cassava, based on pre-determined market demand. He said that the Ministry would partner with agro-processors and fresh produce exporters, to find ready markets in the Diaspora, with a view to utilising excess capacity.

JIS Social