Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Red Stripe Commissions Cassava Factory

Published:Tuesday | June 30, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Contributed Photo Cedric Blair, managing director at Red Stripe, addresses the gathering at the official commissioning of the plant.
Contributed Photo From left: Dianne Ashton Smith - head of Corporate Relations at Red Stripe makes  a point to Devon Francis - acting head of Supply; Jean Look Tong - head of Red Stripe International and Dwaine Williams - head of Commercial, during the commissioning of the cassava starch factory at Red Stripe.
Contributed Photo Cassava being used in the starch factory.

Red Stripe has achieved another milestone in fully realising its sustainability vision with the commissioning of its cassava starch factory at its offices on Thursday, June 18. The 20 root ton processing plant represents a US$1.5-million investment which will allow the company to realise its goal of sourcing 40 per cent of its raw material locally by 2020.

"The pride that we feel here at Red Stripe for this initiative is immense," said Red Stripe Managing Director Cedric Blair. "We want to get to about 40 per cent of our raw material locally sourced and this is going to be a big initiative which, we believe, is going to take us between three to five years to really establish the supply chain."

"What we're doing is changing lives with this project through the commercialisation of cassava and also training persons and providing employment through our Diageo Learning for Life programme," Blair said.

During commissioning of the plant, Red Stripe produced 2000kg of starch which was used in its first three commercial brews of Red Stripe and includes five per cent cassava starch. At full capacity, Red Stripe is expecting to produce 960 tons (960,000kg) of starch per year.

Agriculture Minister Derrick Kellier said that Red Stripe's investment in cassava is a great example of how the private sector can invest in agriculture to help spur the economy.

"With this commissioning, you will help Jamaica move closer to our goal of import substitution," said the minister. "With this commissioning today, you will also continue to demonstrate that it is indeed possible to grow and expand local agro processing. This project certainly reinforces our firm belief that opportunities do abound and agriculture can truly be the engine of growth for the sustainable development of Jamaica," said Kellier.

Red Stripe's cassava processing factory falls under the umbrella of Project Grow, which represents the company's biggest push to develop a sustainable manufacturing process. It includes private sector and government collaboration through a lease agreement for land acquisition, and developing a cassava cultivation best practice with the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute. Project Grow also allows Red Stripe to fulfill its corporate social responsibility policy through the training of local farmers to be employed to the farm via the Diageo Learning for Life programme.

The cassava processing plant is also the latest investment of a $1.7-billion brewery modernisation which includes the installation of a combined heat and power plant and state-of-the-art fermenting vessels. These investments will position Red Stripe to grow its international footprint and compete with the top breweries in the world.