Cassava riches

Earnings from root crop to rise with opening of flour mill

Cassava flour could soon be readily available on supermarket shelves here in more than adequate supplies, with the construction of a near quarter-million-dollar cassava flour plant expected to go into operation by September.

Chief Executive Officer of the state-run Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) Shawn Tudor told Barbados TODAY planning permission had already been secured from the Town & Country Planning Department for the erection of a building at Fairy Valley, Christ Church to house the mill, which has already been ordered.

Once installed, the mill will produce a tonne of cassava flour a day, making it possible to produce a number of products from the root crop, including pasta and cassava bread, Tudor said.

According to the agricultural official, the project will provide additional revenue opportunities for farmers, since large amounts of agricultural land would be needed to grow cassava.

“We will enter into contracts with farmers and there are also options for feed available down that road,” he explained.

The authorities see the cassava flour initiative as another avenue for getting more Barbadians involved in agriculture, which is experiencing some sort of rebirth based on the number of people who are involved again, Tudor said.

However, concerns remain, including the fact that even those who practice agriculture fail to see it as a business, according to the chief executive officer.

“Agriculture has once again become an option that people are looking at. We have more requests for land than we have and than we can ever get from plantations to bring back in. But people are coming to agriculture and just thinking it is easy and they are not recognizing that it is a business,” the BADMC boss stated.

He advised farmers to formulate business plans and put money into the sector to better position them to receive assistance from the state entity as it seeks to bring land back into agriculture.

He cited the Land for the Landless project, including the Spring Hall land lease programme in St Lucy, as initiatives that require the participants to have some business sense.

“The contracts that they had then, they were not very tight. There were large tracks of land, 25 acres for 25 years. What you have now is a generational thing where those farmers have raised their families . . . not able to manage the land, but you still have difficulty getting the land back,” Tudor said.

As a result, he said, there was quite some sub-letting taking place, contrary to the terms and conditions of the original lease, and a lot of unproductivity, which the BADMC is trying to tackle.

“We are working hard to regularize that . . . . We are working at reclaiming and getting back land from delinquent farmers . . . who are no longer interested in farming; they have run up massive debts over the past 15 years; haven’t planted anything in ten or 15 years. We are writing to them saying “you can hand this land back to us; we can work some sort of debt forgiveness. Just give us the land back,” he said.

8 Responses to Cassava riches

  1. Alex Alleyne March 2, 2017 at 6:42 am

    Great Idea , but make sure corn is also on the list . Time to get rid or cut back heavy on the WHITE WHEAT flour , it’s a “KILLER” for black people.

    Reply
  2. Richard Johnston March 2, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Baked goods with cassava flour are awful. That having been said, there is good reason to break the monopoly on staples in Barbados that is enriching a few. A liter of vegetable oil costs BB$1.50 in New York.

    Reply
  3. Alex Alleyne March 2, 2017 at 9:05 am

    @R. Johnston, try a piece of “good ole BAJAN CASSAVA pone” and get back with us…..ASAP

    Reply
  4. Tristan Greene March 2, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Great idea! Barbados needs more agricultural growth to stimulate this economy

    Reply
  5. Peter March 2, 2017 at 10:23 am

    Thank you Alex Alleyne. Richard is an Englishman. He doesn’t know a lot about Cassava. Cassava Bread was made and still to this day is made by the Amerindians on the remote areas of Guyana. When toasted over an open flame It is the best breakfast cereal I toast, butter with salt butter and dunk mine in tea. Hmmm It is stuffed with a sweetened coconut grating and baked. Serves as an excellent pastry. It is boiled as part of a great soup broth and served in a thick coconut flavored broth along boiled and pounded green plantains along with fresh water fish and eddoes, yam, squash and some vegetables to make what Guyanese know as Methem (metajee). And oh Cassava is used to produce Cassiri which is refined to produce Cassareep. An excellent and key eliment in Pepperpot and other local flavorings in Guyanese style chowmein. No MSG nor Soy. Not to worry, I know my way around the kitchen. My friends overseas especially in Netherlands, England and Sweden love it when I visit. Oh Bajan rum adds to the taste too. Leaves one feeling great. After that, a wash down with some dominoes.

    Reply
  6. Carson C Cadogan March 2, 2017 at 11:44 am

    The only problem Shawn, does Barbados produce enough Cassava?

    Reply
  7. L King March 2, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    My mother talks a lot about how her mother grew cassava and the delicious etc she then made: my mother lived on a farm.

    Reply
  8. L King March 2, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    I’m pleased to hear of this new venture.

    Reply

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