Last Friday, nine individuals graduated from Cassava Development Project Apprenticeship Training in the Kalinago Territory.
The training module, conducted under the theme ‘to create a skillful background for your future endeavors’ was developed and implemented by the Ministry of Trade, Energy and Employment.
Addressing the closing ceremony, Hon Minister for Kalinago Affairs and Parliamentary Representative for the Salybia constituency, Cassius Darroux advised participants to recognize the great potential attached to cassava product manufacturing especially since cassava is one of the most resilient crops on island.
“We have examined the potential and realized that it is one of the crops that we can depend on whether sun or rain...it can survive the drought and we will really have no problem, “he remarked.
The programme was geared at preparing the participants for large-scale manufacturing of cassava products and small business start-ups.
Tutor of the programme and Director of Healthy Islander, Nathalie Charles explained, “The training module developed for this program was implemented through a series of segments which fell under two main categories. Category 1- sensitization; the sessions in this category dealt with the introduction to the cassava root as a traditional food resource with respect to its history, nutritional value, health benefits therapeutic properties, industrial and commercial benefits, economic potential and its distinct role in our national food security.”
Charles further explained that the role of the Kalinago people in the future of cassava products was also highlighted in the first phase of the training module.
Phase two of the module covered the technical aspects of cassava product manufacturing. “This category gave focus to the technical aspect of the training; and this included the introduction to the basic laws and principles of baking, application of cassava into production into a wide range of cassava based baked goods, trial runs for market testing as per acceptability of the products, training sessions in business development and management, practical laboratory sessions at the produce chemist lab, sessions with the environment health department of the Ministry of Health in the basic guiding principles relating to food handling,” she informed.
At the programme’s closing ceremony, Kalinago Chief, Charles Williams expressed that he believes those who participated in the training programme have taken the first step into a lucrative business which could bring meaningful economic development to the Kalinago Territory.
“We want to have something that can bring meaningful economic development to the Kalinago Territory so that we can depend upon it; you can grow your family on it; you can build your home on it; you can pay your loan on it, and you can educate your children on it,” he said.
The training programme was launched in November 2016 and concluded on February 16th, 2017. It is anticipated that participants will go on to develop small businesses in manufacturing or retailing cassava products.
Some of the products manufactured by participants during the training programme were cassava flour used to make a variety of breads, cakes, pastries; cassava pastas such as noodles and lasagna sheets; soup mixes and cassava egg substitute.