Cassava farmers enthused by Red Stripe's recognition
The second group of farmers who were selected to grow cassava to be used in Red Stripe beer production has expressed delight at the impetus the Project Grow programme may give local farming.
"Sometimes farmers think that farming and the corporate world are so far apart that there can be no connect, and I think this show that there can be a connect, and I hope it happens about with other crops," farmer Yvonne Nelson said.
LOCAL FARMERS EARNING
Another farmer, Raymond Dunkley said: "This is the greatest thing that has happened for local farming. When Red Stripe decided to import starch to use in their beer production, I was the one who persuaded them to use cassava so that local farmers can earn from it." Dunkley hopes that other companies may use other locally grown crops to produce high-end products.
"As you can see, the cotton grow in Jamaica here and I would think that the hemp would be one of the products that we could use to produce raw material for clothing," Dunkley said.
Cassava will replace imported high-maltose corn syrup in Red Stripe beer production.
Red Stripe currently has four farms with combined acreage of nearly 1,000. Managing director at Red Stripe, Ricardo Nuncio, said that with the addition of the outgrower farmers, he hopes to boost this figure to more than 2,000 by the end of the year.
Nelson also expressed optimism about Project Grow.
"The attraction for me is a consistent market, because this is a contract where I'd be supplying Red Stripe with cassava," Nelson said.
At a briefing, Nuncio outlined key features of the project, noting that training will play an integral role in achieving the required growth and turnover.
He added: "Cassava is en route to becoming a fundamental raw material for Red Stripe. It has allowed us to provide an avenue for Jamaican farmers to broaden their expertise and have a secure market for their produce."