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Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has said that the public has been responding positively to programmes that promote food security within the island, with many persons participating in the backyard gardening and fruit tree crop projects.
The Minister, who was speaking at the presentation ceremony for the Gleaner’s ‘Cassava Challenge’ on Monday (Nov.10) at the company’s headquarters downtown Kingston, said that the programmes were created to promote the general concept of growing and consuming local produce.
He commended the competition’s participants and winners, noting that “the cassava is a very versatile crop, which provides nutrients and can be used in many ways, which are tasty and appetising.”
He further lauded the Gleaner, for conceptualising and co-ordinating the contest, which involved creating tasty food items from cassava, noting that it was in keeping with the Government’s thrust to ensure food security.
“We believe that it [the competition] not only promotes the use of cassava as a product but also promotes more importantly, the general concept which we have been trying to push since this year, which is to grow more local and consume more local. That is the sort of theme that we want to get out there to Jamaicans and Jamaicans are responding,” he stated.
Lifestyle Editor at the Gleaner, Barbara Ellington, informed that the competition was to promote food security and encouraged “people to plant because we are from a very fruitful country and we need to plant.”
She said that the main prize of 100 fruit trees was donated by the Minister. These include mangoes, jackfruit, pomegranate, and guava. Other prizes include gifts from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), such as planting kits and fertiliser.
First place went to Rosetta Falconer, for her sweet cassava pudding; Ona Gordon, who entered a cassava punch, placed second; while Sharon Edwards who presented a sweet cassava chicken casserole, was third.