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

Needed: Regional strategic plan for agriculture

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

While work has been done to articulate the vision for agriculture in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), a senior CARICOM Secretariat officials wants the Region to develop a regional strategic plan for agriculture.

Mr. Joseph Cox, Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration at the CARICOM Secretariat stressed that the Region had to treat agriculture as a business and not as a tool for social engineering for excess labour. The Community needed to become competitive in agriculture, he pointed out. (more…)

Jamaican agri-preneur makes bees his business

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Youth and Agriculture Programmes at the CARICOM Secretariat are collaborating to have a Youth Pavilion during the upcoming Caribbean Week of Agriculture in the Cayman Islands,  24-28 October 2016. There will be ten youth entrepreneurs exhibiting at the Youth Pavilion during the CWA.

As promised, we are highlighting the youth who will be participating in the exhibition.

Today’s agri-preneur is Duhaje Jennings who has been making bees his business for nine years. Dada B’s is a bee production business that currently has 10 apiary sites. Most of the products are sold wholesale to middle men who supply hotels. The remaining products are sold to supermarkets and small shops.  Currently there are two full-time employees who assist in all aspects of the operation except marketing and sales.

Duhaje’s vision for Dada B’s is to make it one of the Caribbean’s largest agricultural producer and food manufacturer. He says it mission is to to provide value-added agricultural products in response to a growing world-wide demand. (more…)

Caribbean Week of Agriculture 2016 in Cayman Islands


Organisers are putting the final touches on preparations for the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) to be held in the Cayman Islands later this month.

The CWA, the Region’s premier agriculture event, will be held in Grand Cayman, 24-28 October, 2016, under the theme ‘Investing in food and agriculture’. This is the first time that an Associate Member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will hold the CWA.

An investment forum to explore the needs and strategies for agriculture and agri-business is billed as one of the hallmark events of the week of activities and is being convened under the aegis of the Alliance for Sustainable Development of Agriculture and the Rural Milieu (‘The Alliance’). The forum will open with addresses by the Hon. Saboto Caesar, Minister of Agriculture Rural Transformation, Forestry Fisheries and Industry, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Hon. D. Kurt Tibbetts, Minister of Planning, Lands, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure (PLAHI), Cayman Islands.

 Speakers will include Ms. Suzette Hudson, Senior Investment Promotion Advisor, Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export), Mr. McHale Andrew, President, Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA), Mr. Komal Samaroo, Chairman, Demerara Distillers Limited, Mr. Desmond Sheehy, Co-founder and Managing Director of Duxton Asset Management (Duxton), Mr. Oscar Spencer, Institute of Caribbean Studies, and Mr. Percival La Touche, President, Association for the Resettlement of Returning Residents (Jamaica).

Case studies of the cassava, small ruminants, and herbs and spices sub-sectors and their investment needs will also be discussed during the forum.

 Other activities include a Trade Show and Exhibition which will open on Wednesday, 26 October and continue the next day.  It will serve as a the CWA MarketPlace and is intended to create an event that would give producers the opportunity to showcase their products to both the Region and the Cayman Islands’ ‘high value’ tourism and retail markets. This year’s CWA2016 MarketPlace will provide more than 40 regional agriculture, food and beverage producers the opportunity to showcase their goods and services and meet and network with potential customers, prospects and partners.

As is customary, the Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) – Agriculture will be convened on Friday, 28 October, preceded by the meeting of Officials on Tuesday, 25 October. The COTED will be examining and deciding on several issues on agriculture, including matters related to increasing production and trade in agricultural products, and policy recommendations based on a series of studies undertaken under the Agricultural Policy Programme, under the 10th EDF.

During the five-day event, seminars will be convened to focus on the Region’s coconut industry; linkages between trade and transport; climate resilience; sustainable and profitable value chains in the Caribbean; agri-business development; and governance and public policy for food and nutrition security.