Diageo to use cassava in beer

(Jamaica Gleaner) AGRICULTURE MINISTER Roger Clarke on Thursday said a window of opportunity seems to be opening up for cassava farmers.

While unwilling to disclose the issue of price, Clarke said Diageo, the parent company for Red Stripe, appears to be in a position to “take a substantial amount of cassava in their beer manufacturing”.

At the same time, Donovan Stanberry, permanent secretary in the ministry, said Diageo was having talks with Jamaica Producers with a view to having the company produce cassava.

“We are ready and willing to mobilise our farmers in that effort because I think they need about 4,000 acres,” Stanberry said.

In January, Clarke said in Parliament that Diageo had offered to pay $1 per pound for cassava.

“They came to the fore indicating that they wanted cassava to replace the hops in their beer. I did not go to the farmers until I got from them what is the indicative price that they would pay. When they came, finally they said to me they would pay $1 per pound,” Clarke said.

He added: “I couldn’t take that message to any farmer because you know farmers in Jamaica travel with cutlass.”

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