Gill: We Want to Export More
March 3, 2006

Gill: We Want to Export More

If all goes according to plan, agricultural exports will get an economic boost as Cassava joins the list of commodities exported from this Country. {{more}}

Plans are well on the way to provide cassava products to the international market.

The groundwork has been established through the construction of a processing plant at Orange Hill, and with the new emphasis being placed on agriculture diversification, these plans are showing promise of bearing fruit.

According to Manager of the Arrowroot Association, Markely Gill – who manages operations at the processing centre – the processing plant has the potential to support a large scale production of refined cassava products to meet demand on the regional and extra-regional markets. Gill noted that the work is currently in the planning stages to improve the quality of processed farine while exploring alternatives means of producing cassava products.

“We are currently exploring a Trinidad market for packaged farine, and we are hoping to produce on a large-scale level to export.”

The Manager noted that while exploring new markets for cassava, there must be a rise in standards. He said with this in mind, plans are in place to produce a variety of products from the cassava plant.

“We have the potential in the immediate future to produce starch, flour and cereal apart from farine production. I see no reason why we can’t expand into these cassava products. While farine is almost unique to us, other countries concentrate on the cassava starch, but there are a number of processed products we are exploring to undertake in the near future.”

According to the manager, the factory will be looking to process these products once there is a readily available supply of cassava.

“Right now our facility is capable of producing up to 1500 pounds of cassava per day, but at present because of the low level of cassava production in the country we only produce about 600 pounds per day,” he explained to SEARCHLIGHT.

Gill noted that the factory has no intention of competing with the small producers, but will assist with improving food handling and production process at a level appropriate for their production.

“We currently supply farine to some of the major local supermarkets, but the intention is not to squeeze the local farmers out. We want to help them improve their packaging and so on…while at the same time look for overseas markets on a larger scale. All this is part of a proposal we handed over to the agriculture diversification unit to look at for possible funding,” Gill said.

“What we are trying to do is improve our packaging and labeling capabilities. I would prefer when I sell a consumer any of our products it can be in a well-packed bag.

I see no reason why we can’t manufacture a variety of products from cassava. We are limited in technical capability so I am asking anyone who can offer their assistance to come forward and offer some assistance.”