Red Stripe, Jamaica Sign Agreement on Cassava Project

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - January 8, 2014

Above: Red Stripe

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Brewing company Red Stripe and Jamaica’s Ministry of Agriculture have officially signed a lease agreement that will pave the way for a project that will eventually replace some barley used in beer production with cassava.

The lease deal signed this week covers the provision of 36.2 acres of land for what is right now a pilot project.

Project Grow, which will eventually replace 20 percent of imported inputs like barley with locally-grown cassava, is targeting 500 acres of land for cultivation over an 18-month period.

The project aims to meet the 20 percent threshold by 2016.

Eventually, Diageo/Red Stripe plans to increase cassava production to 2,400 acres over a period of five years.

“Thirty-six acres might seem small,” said Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke. “But what you intend to do is employ best practices and you are going to be moving cassava production to the level (where) farmers can make (a livelihood) out of growing cassava.”
The Ministry said the project could benefit as many as 2,500 farmers and other stakeholders with direct employment, with indirect benefits for another 3,750 people.

“We hope this is the beginning of a project that will lead to many jobs for Jamaicans and to the saving of millions of dollars [of foreign exchange,” said Richard Byles, chairman of Red Stripe.

The planned partnership with Red Stripe was first announced by the government in May of 2013.

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