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Red Stripe to train, employ 2,400 for cassava project

Red Stripe to train, employ 2,400 for cassava project

Posted by Shanelle Weir on September 18, 2014

Red Stripe plans to train and employ 2,400 persons in cassava production over the next five years.

The initiative dubbed 'Project Grow' will see the local brewer hire one person per acre of cassava that it plants, after each individual completes a 12-week training programme.

The first batch of 36 students is expected to complete training at the end of November. Each student is given a daily stipend of $1,500 for the duration of the training programme said Dianne Ashton-Smith, head of Corporate Communications at Red Stripe.

Additionally, 300 persons will be trained over the next financial year. The company will employ all persons who successfully complete the programme and pass the final examination, which will be administrated by HEART.

The trainees who are successful in their examination will be awarded a level 1 certificate from HEART that will serve as a foundation for further studies, said Ashton-Smith.

The programme, which was launched on September 1, is being delivered in collaboration with the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) at a cost of $10 million.

In January, Red Stripe signed a lease agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture for lands at Bernard Lodge in St Catherine to facilitate a multimillion-dollar cassava-growing project.

The company has since planted an initial 36.2 acres of cassava that will be reaped in the next two months as part of its pilot project.

The plan is to cultivate 500 acres of cassava over the next two years and 2,400 acres within five years.

Diageo, Red Stripe's parent company, aims to replace 20 per cent of imported inputs, primarily barley, used in the production of its flagship product, Red Stripe Beer.

This project aims to produce 60 tonnes per hectare, which is comparative to that which is produced in Africa, Brazil and the Philippines. Cassava farms in Jamaica currently yield between 10-15 tonnes per hectare.

Project Grow is an initiative which falls under Diageo's 'Learning for Life' programme, which also offers bartender, retailer, hospitality and entrepreneurship training.

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