The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has begun a cassava initiative in order to encourage the increased cultivation of cassava.
The overall objective is to generate greater and more sustained use of cassava, as well as an appreciation for cassava-blended bread within various market segments.
Saint Lucia is one among seven of the more advanced countries involved in the production of cassava blended bread. The cassava project will begin in early 2018, starting with the production of ‘mash’ and cassava blended bread.
“We’ve had lots of consultations with bakeries, and we also re-inspired the bakeries in the south and in the east to develop the bread and get the entire country used to having cassava-blended bread available for purchase,” said Manus Cherry, the National Project Coordinator in the Ministry of Agriculture for the Roots and Tubers Project.
A cassava grinder was earlier donated to the agro processing plant in Fond Assau, Babonneau. That plant will be one of the main institutions for producing the mash. Training sessions have also been organized for the main target groups: farmers, traditional processors, and bakers.
“Farmers from Micoud and Des Barras will be receiving post-harvest training in 2018, and there will also be food and safety training coordinated by the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards for these target groups.”
So far, consumers of cassava-blended bread have expressed satisfaction with the product.
“They were saying that the bread is more filling, compared to wheaten bread,” Mr Cherry said. “Cassava-blended bread includes 40 percent mash and 60 percent wheat, which creates a better product compared to using 100 percent wheaten flour or white flour,” he explained. “It is healthier too, because cassava is gluten free. So you have a bread that contains less gluten, and which is more filling.”
The Food and Agriculture Organization is funding mechanism for the Roots and Tubers Project.