May 30, 2014
38,000 pounds of arrowroot shipped to USA

The first container load of arrowroot starch to be shipped to the United States for 2014 left St Vincent this week.{{more}}

A release from the Ministry of Agriculture said 38,000 pounds of starch was shipped to the main buyer in the USA on Wednesday.

According to the release, this is up from the 26,000 lbs shipped last year. Another 8,000 lbs is to be shipped later on.

“This year, the Association has recorded a 77 per cent rise in the quantity of arrowroot starch destined for external markets in the USA,” the release said.

According to the release, manager of the Arrowroot Industry Association Cauldric Browne indicated that the factors contributing to the rise in production are: 1. The increase in the price per pound of rhizomes paid to farmers from 50¢ to $1.00 for the 2012 crop and which continued for the 2013 crop, paid this year. 2. The window of credit for arrowroot farmers provided by the National Development Foundation.

This, Brown also stated, was responsible for the increased interest demonstrated by the farmers, even outside of the traditional arrowroot production zone, to produce arrowroot, and has now propelled the Association to move towards the target of 80,000 lbs of starch for export to the USA by 2015. The production figures recorded this year amounted to over 503,000 lbs in comparison to last year’s 303,000 lbs.

As such, the Association is responding to the increased interest of the farmers to expand production and now has on board the Farmers Support Company, which has already provided both traditional and new farmers with credit for the production of the 2014 crop.

In the implementation of its rehabilitation program, the Arrowroot Industry Association is also working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture to realise the following: negotiation for an increase in the price for arrowroot starch in 2015; expansion in the marketing of the starch to international destinations under the Fair Trade Label; the offer of diverse packages of starch that are attractive and durable for the local and regional markets; expansion of the product line into pharmaceuticals with assistance from the University of the West Indies.

Brown has expressed confidence in continued growth of the industry and said he is encouraged by local response to the rehabilitation program, as well as the FAO recognition of arrowroot as a crop resilient to climate change.