March 6, 2015
SVG to benefit from regional cassava industry development project

This country is among seven countries to benefit from a recently launched Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) regional project to support the development of the cassava industry in the region.

The seven countries – Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines are to benefit from the US$500,000 project, with the FAO indicating that other regional countries will benefit from the project outputs,{{more}} which aims to replace up to 30 per cent of wheat flour with cassava in baked products, feed products and other industrial and household uses.

Renato Gumbs, Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer, who attended a recent workshop for the launch of the project, said that cassava has the potential to replace some of the food commodities imported from North America.

He said in addition, increased use of the crop may also contribute to a reduction of the food import bill.

Furthermore, cassava is a climate-smart crop, which tolerates drought and some degree of flooding. It is gluten-free and has other attractive health benefits.

Gumbs further disclosed that each participating country will therefore develop a project of their own in order to develop the cassava industry.

“The project identified for SVG is for the rehabilitation of the cassava plant at Orange Hill, which has been out of production for a while.

“We are also looking at the value added aspect. In this case, we want to go further than just using the cassava for making ferine. We want to take the next step and try to develop new products from the cassava…”

In addition, FAO is working towards the implementation of a regional cassava policy in close collaboration with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and the Inter-American Institute for Agriculture (IICA), under a project funded by the European Union (EU).