The government of Colombia has agreed to assist in the cultivation of sweet cassava in the Kalinago Territory, Dominica’s Foreign Minister Francine Baron has said.
She spoke during a visit to Dominica by Colombia’s Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar.
She stated that residents of the Kalinago Territory have been growing the traditional bitter variety of cassava for generations but recently the value of cultivating the sweet variety was realised.
“We are therefore pleased that our Colombian friends have agreed to assist with the expansion of the new variety of cassava in the Kalinago Territory,” Baron stated.
“This has been done successfully in Jamaica and much of the training for Kalinago farmers and technicians will be undertaken in Jamaica. The hope is that the Kalinago experience will be used for the introduction of the new variety throughout the island.”
She said it was agreed that people in Jamaica who have successfully worked in the cassava industry can come to Dominica to share their experience and expertise.
“We expect to benefit greatly from that experience,” Baron noted.
She said discussions were held for establishing a cassava processing plant in the Kalinago Territory.
“We have also discussed cooperation with Colombia for the establishment of a cassava processing plant using Colombian technology,” Baron stated.
“This will allow us to significantly upgrade cassava processing capacity in the Territory, allowing for improved productivity and hence the export of not only farine and cassava bread but also of cassava flour, cassava mash, and other products.”
Meanwhile, Cuellar said those involved in cassava cultivation in Colombia will be coming to the Kalinago Territory “very soon” and they will also help in the marketing process of cassava products.