[pullquote_right][/pullquote_right]Acting CEO of the BADMC Glendine Bartlett (left) signs the Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the BADMC, as Executive Director of the BMA, Bobbi McKay (seated); Minister of Agriculture, Dr. David Estwick and Technical Officer with the BMA, Sade Stalberg, look on.
Bakeries across Barbados will be involved in trials to test how cassava flour can either be used to develop products either directly from cassava or retail products that would integrate cassava into existing products on the market.
Word of this came from Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Dr. David Estwick, speaking during a press conference to announce the development and sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) and the Barbados Manufacturersâ€™ Association (BMA).
â€œPiggybacking on an already established sector [manufacturing] could be an integral part of driving the integrated cassava industry in Barbados, because it would help us to determine not only the general demand that is out there for the product, but it would also help us to determine how many acres of cassava we need to plant,â€ he explained.
Dr. Estwick further indicated that it would also assist the relevant players to determine the type of equipment that is needed and the capacity of that equipment to produce the quality and volumes of flour that are required.
â€œI have been talking over the last few months about this integrated process, in particular towards the feed side. For years we have been suffering in Barbados from imported inflation that came along with spiralling food costs within the United States and around the world. The majority of the imported inflation that is linked to feed and that is linked to food in general is associated with the rising prices of corn, soya and in addition when you have oil prices spikes. The only way we are going to break that cycle of imported inflation that is affecting the economy domestically, would if we could control some of the domestic production elements within Barbados and that would give us an opportunity to break that cycle of imported inflation in regards to animal feed and food products,â€ he said.
Estwick said that this project is his Ministryâ€™s first step towards breaking that cycle and he is confident that once they can establish a strong relationship between the manufacturers and the general users of cassava flour, that they will be able to create a local integrated cassava industry.
Speaking on behalf of the BMA, Executive Director Bobbi McKay said that they see the relationship being formed as an excellent one that will be of benefit to the local manufacturers and the farming community. She said that the trials could begin as soon as today among the ten participating manufacturers, which include Purity Bakeries and Good Times Snacks. Her sentiments were reiterated by Acting CEO of the BADMC, Glendine Bartlett, who explained that they have been producing cassava flour for the last seven years and anticipate that if it is embraced by the manufacturers, it would cut down on the importation of wheat flour into Barbados.
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