Newly appointed Minister of Agriculture, Dr. David Estwick, sees great potential for the export of goods made from local produce such as cassava.

Speaking during a tour of the Home Gardening Display for World Food Day 2010 at the Ministry’s headquarters, Graeme Hall, Christ Church, yesterday, he said while traditionally cassava had been a staple diet for many Barbadians, it is now being processed into secondary and tertiary products such as breads, muffins and cakes.

"I think that is an important development, because I believe that the evidence is strong…that if we could develop the cassava products to a point where we could essentially produce our own line of sandwich loaves or salt breads,…these would have a tremendous impact on the health bill, in terms of dealing with diabetes and hypertension," the Minister pointed out.

Dr. Estwick was of the view that such an initiative could be rewarding for Barbadians not only health wise but it also had great implications for the export sector.

He stressed that collaboration with stakeholders in the agricultural sector and institutions such as the University of the West Indies, could help develop such a programme.

"We can, therefore, develop a set of products for export from this agricultural base. It is that type of thrust which I know the Ministry is already on but what I want to look at is the other side of the coin. To not only help move these things to commercial production, but to link it with a positive educational drive, so Barbadians would understand the benefits of using our domestic cassava products and leaving out the imported wheat and gluten," the Agriculture Minister maintained.

Author: Andr?? Skeete

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