Government’s efforts to develop a cassava industry in the island is gaining momentum.
The Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) is presently engaged in a project where it is seeking to encourage local bakers to substitute imported wheat flour with a gluten-free cassava alternative.
Chief Executive Officer of the BADMC, Andrew Skeete, recently disclosed during a press conference that his department was presently working with the Barbados Manufacturers Association (BMA) on this initiative, which could have long-term health and financial benefits for the country.
"Our capacity has reached the stage where we can provide bulk cassava flour to the bakers but on a pilot phase… We are looking at essentially creating a market for cassava flour," he said.
Mr. Skeete added that the BADMC was working to develop its agro processing capacity, with a new mini plant established at the Grantley Adams Industrial Estate, Christ Church. Agro processing involves turning primary agricultural products or crops into secondary or tertiary goods for sale.
Minister of Agriculture, Food Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Dr. David Estwick, explained that the National Cassava Project would also extend to animal feeds, which would lessen dependency on such imports.
He said the initiative would also ensure that Barbados was not subject to the vagaries and high prices for wheat and other agricultural products on the international market, while providing jobs in the agricultural sector and consumers with access to cheaper local animal products.