- Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda, has committed the Government’s full support for plans by Red Stripe to expand its cassava project, which will create more jobs for Jamaicans.
- In addition to utilising locally grown cassava in the production of its world-famous beer, the company is looking to use the crop in its Dragon, Malta and Guinness products.
- The farmers will receive equipment, support and training to get them started.
Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda, has committed the Government’s full support for plans by Red Stripe to expand its cassava project, which will create more jobs for Jamaicans.
“As far as we are concerned, working together as we have been, you have our 150 per cent support in everything you are undertaking,” he said.
Minister Samuda was speaking at a press conference following a meeting with the company’s Managing Director, Ricardo Nuncio, and a tour of the Red Stripe plant at Spanish Town Road on August 3.
The meeting, which included Finance and the Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, was to discuss expansion of the cassava project.
In addition to utilising locally grown cassava in the production of its world-famous beer, the company is looking to use the crop in its Dragon, Malta and Guinness products.
A release from the Ministry said the expansion plan will see an additional 1,000 acres of cassava planted for a total of 4,000 acres of the crop by 2020. The company also plans to contract 400 mostly small farmers to grow the cassava. This is up from the 180 farmers the company had initially planned to engage for the project.
The farmers will receive equipment, support and training to get them started. They will also be provided with a guaranteed price for their cassava.
Red Stripe will also directly employ 600 persons on the project in the next four years.
Minister Samuda, in his remarks at the press conference, welcomed the undertaking and committed to sourcing additional lands and providing other support for the project.
He said his recent visit to the expanded Clarendon cassava farms makes him convinced of the high level of production Red Stripe will bring.
“I am looking forward to the day you achieve the expanded involvement of our Jamaican workers, and young farmers in particular, to be part of this wonderful experience,” he said.
Minister Shaw, for his part, applauded the company for the opportunities the move will open up for small farmers of cassava and the surrounding rural communities.
He also hailed Red Stripe for returning a significant part of its operations to local soil.
He indicated that the repatriation of Red Stripe’s production locally for export to North America in September, demonstrates the company’s confidence in the Jamaican economy.
Mr. Shaw said he is hopeful that the move will serve as a model and inspiration to Jamaican entrepreneurs “to take chances, bring technologies and believe in workers”.
Red Stripe’s return to Jamaica follows the acquisition of a controlling stake by Heineken in Desnoes and Geddes (D&G) in October last year.
Heineken, which has taken over Red Stripe, is keen on re-establishing Jamaica as the global hub for the iconic Jamaican brand.
Meanwhile, Mr. Nuncio said Red Stripe Beer represents “everything good about Jamaica”.
“It represents the possibilities that a country like Jamaica has. It is now on us, on Heineken to make it bigger and more relevant,” he said, declaring that, “we believe in Jamaica”.
Mr. Nuncio informed that Red Stripe is ready to send shipments to the United States during the first week of September.
During the tour of the plant, Ministers Samuda and Shaw observed a number of technologies by Red Stripe to increase production in time for September, which included a machine to pack 12 cases of beer.
They also observed the milling of cassava to produce starch to be used in beer production.