Red Stripe Cassava Project Experiences Hiccups

Red Stripe chairman, Richard Byles, says six weeks after approaching the Ministry of Agriculture for lease of agro-park lands, no lots have been allocated.

Lands in agro-parks developed by Government to enhance productivity are made available to local producers at concessionary rates.

Red Stripe indicated in early November that it was going ahead with the plan to replace imported American corn with locally grown cassava by 2016.

For the company corn currently makes up 40 per cent of the imported raw material input, while malt from Europe makes up the remaining 60 per cent.

“We can’t get the lease, which is really crazy,” Byles said, while addressing a PIOJ forum on Tuesday.

Noting that the cost of imported inputs were growing more expensive as the dollar declines in value, he said substituting cassava would reduce the costs of manufacturing Red Stripe.

“We want to do this, but six weeks later, we can’t get a lease for land that Government owns.”

Efforts at comment from the Ministry of Agriculture on the delay were unsuccessful. Permanent Secretary Donovan Stanberry was said to be off on official business until December 2.

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