Roots and tubers: A potential cash cow in the Caribbean

Slimdown 360’s instant mash products have a shelf life of 1 year (Photo via Spore)
Slimdown 360’s instant mash products have a shelf life of one year (Photo via Spore)

Root and tuber crops (RTCs) such as arrowroot, cassava, dasheen, eddoe, ginger, sweet potato, tania and yam are farmed throughout the Caribbean and remain a staple of traditional diets. Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname and some eastern Caribbean countries are self-sufficient in RTCs with Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines leading regional exports.

However, with the capacity to create value-added products for local consumption and export, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has identified cassava, sweet potato and yam with the highest potential for development.

RTC crops can withstand up to 98 per cent of hurricane disasters and have good potential even as regional climate patterns change, as planting material can be sourced locally, and farmers are familiar with RTC production. RTCs are also valued for their ‘good’ complex carbohydrates, which provide better glycemic indices (food’s effect on a person’s blood sugar), compared to imported refined carbohydrates; they are also high in dietary fibre and low in calorie count, which are important considerations for health-conscious markets in Europe.

Read more at: SPORE

Strengthening Cooperation – three Caribbean Community Institutions sign MOU

CROSQ_CAHFSA_CRFM_sign
Signing – (l-r) Mr. Lindley Simeon Collins – CAHFSA; Mr. Milton Haughton – CRFM; Mr. Deryck Omar – CROSQ

Three Caribbean Community Institutions, Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) through which to cooperate, coordinate and combine their resources, experience and expertise in the discharge of their obligations to the Community.

The signing by the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA), and the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), took place on the sidelines of the First Joint Meeting of the CARICOM Secretary-General, Heads of Caribbean Community Institutions, and  the CARICOM Committee of Ambassadors, at the Pegasus Hotel, Georgetown, Guyana. (more…)

Working together – CARICOM SG, Ambassadors and Heads of Community Institutions

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Work to strengthen the Region’s governance and implementation structures continued Thursday with the first joint meeting of the CARICOM Secretary-General, Heads of Community Institutions and the CARICOM Committee of Ambassadors  at the Pegasus Hotel, Georgetown, Guyana.

Thursday’s exchanges followed the fifth Meeting of the Committee of Ambassadors, held at the CARICOM Secretariat, also in Georgetown, on Wednesday. The Committee plays an important role in the governance structure of the Community, providing strategic advice and recommendations to the Community Council towards advancing the integration movement.

The Heads of Community Institutions  meet regularly with the Secretary-General to seek to harmonise efforts towards implementation of the CARICOM Strategic Plan.

Several participants joined the meeting via video conference.

 

Agriculture stakeholders discuss regional food safety

Fruits and vegetables (OECS website)

May 2, 2017 — In an effort to enhance the quality of agricultural produce in the Region, food safety stakeholders convened in Barbados from April 25-26, 2017 to discuss the improvement of plant health in the Region.

The two-day consultations, conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services Services (APHIS), and the Greater Caribbean Safeguarding Initiative (GCIS), discussed the implementation of programmes to safeguard the region from the introduction and spread of pests and invasive species.

A primary objective of the gathering was to foster synergies among partners and formulate plans for the upcoming year. The meeting also sought to develop the draft agenda for 10th Annual Caribbean Plant Health Directors’ (CPHD) Forum Meeting, scheduled to be held in the Dominican Republic in July, 2017.

The meeting in progress (Photo via OECS)
The meeting in progress (Photos via OECS)

Read more at: OECS 

Introducing banana pasta

Tonya Ifill preparing another batch of green bananas. (Photo by Ricardo Leacock via Barbados Nation)
Tonya Ifill preparing another batch of green bananas. (Photo by Ricardo Leacock via Barbados Nation)
‘Anything you do with normal flour you can do with banana flour. You are replacing the white flour with a healthy alternative. It has a sweet taste but there’s no sugar. I’ve found that when you dry out products, you get a little sweetness.’ – Tonya Ifill
IF ONE ENTREPRENEUR has her way, more consumers will be setting aside their wheat, cassava and sweet potato products for those made with green bananas.

Tonya Ifill, owner and operator of Carlesa’s Enterprises pioneered flour and pasta made from the unripened fruit. Ifill was attending Agrofest when she spoke with BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY.

She got the idea while participating in an agro-processing course at the Guyana School of Agriculture. As a group project, participants had to come up with a product that was new to the South American country.

“I did sweet potato and brown rice pasta and got my cousin to export a pasta machine from Canada and I was ready. When I came back [to Barbados], I was looking for something different to work with instead of the same sweet potato and cassava. I researched green bananas, asked around for some and started my trials and it took off from there,” she said.

Read more at: Barbados Nation