Ja REEACH II Farmers to Cultivate Cassava for Red Stripe in Jamaica
Red Stripe, the world-famous beer maker, will engage 200 more farmers in cultivating cassava under its Project Grow initiative in Jamaica. The company will add to the already 100 farmers contracted to grow the tuber as a source of raw material to substitute for the imported high-maltose corn syrup used at its Kingston brewery.
These 300 farmers, from Saint Elizabeth, Saint Catherine, Saint Ann, Saint Thomas, Saint Mary, Clarendon, and Manchester parishes, are part of the USAID-funded Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change II (Ja REEACH II) project, implemented by ACDI/VOCA. Ja REEACH II and Red Stripe signed an agreement in July to help farmers improve their practices and boost commercial cassava production.
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Red Stripe aims to replace 40 percent of its corn syrup by 2020 through its 2,000 acres of land already in use for cassava production. Meanwhile, the Ja REEACH II project plans to conduct research and collaborate with local partners to identify high-yielding, drought-tolerant cassava varieties. The project will also deliver planting materials, test complementary crops for intercropping and rotation, and mobilize a local team to train farmers.
Experts from partner universities in the United States, including the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Delaware State University, and Tuskegee University, will lend their support to research activities.
In July, teams from the universities, Ja REEACH II, and Project Grow visited local farms to come up with a plan for collaborating on a technical approach.
The four-year Ja REEACH II project works with public- and private-sector organizations, like Red Stripe, to protect and sustain agriculture and natural resource-dependent livelihoods in Jamaica. By connecting smallholder farmers with Red Stripe, the project will not only foster better economic opportunities, but also sustainable employment opportunities for youth.