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KINGSTON, 09 Oct 2014 (Jamaica Information Service) – Local brewing company, Red Stripe, says it will invest US$10 million over the next five years to set up a cassava supply chain, as it moves to use the tuber to offset barley imports utilised in beer production.

“It is not just about growing cassava, it’s about setting up a cassava supply chain. We have a big ambition for cassava and it is going to take a massive investment,” said Managing Director, Red Stripe, Cedric Blair.
Mr. Blair was addressing government officials, which included Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller and Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, following a tour of the Spanish Town Road facility on October 8.

To date, the company has spent US$1.1 million on the first phase of its Project Grow initiative and is committing to invest even more over the next five years.

“Our preliminary numbers from our farmers is that under this pilot, we will produce about 70 tonnes per hectare. This means that we will produce more cassava on our pilot farm than the rest of Jamaica combined,” Mr. Blair stated.

He said the company’s plan is to get to 2,500 acres within the next three to five years and to employ one person per acre.

Mr. Blair informed that the company also plans to train an additional 39 Jamaicans to work on its cassava farms as well as invest a further US$800,000 to equip a cassava factory for processing activities.

“The processing plant will be up and running by January 2015 and we will be reaping cassava in February, and so, we will be making beer from locally grown cassava starting February of next year,” he informed.
Mr. Blair further pointed out that under phase two of the project, Red Stripe will add another 142 hectares at a cost of approximately US$200,000.

Under phase three, the brewing company will develop a second cluster of farms within the parishes of St. Catherine, St. Ann and St. Mary, which will see an additional 200 hectares and plans for further expansion to about 1,000 hectares.

He informed that the final phase of the project will see the development of a third cluster in St. Elizabeth, Manchester, and Trelawny for another 200 hectares, with a view to expanding this to another 1,000 hectares.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Simpson Miller commended the company for its foresight and innovation in developing such a “trailblazing project.”

“We celebrate Red Stripe’s cassava innovation, which is having direct economic impact on hundreds of farmers and workers,” she said.

“I’m pleased to learn that the 36 acres under cassava cultivation will be expanded in the next twelve months to incorporate 400 acres through engaging contract farmers. While you’re doing business, you’re providing jobs for our farmers,” the Prime Minister noted.

Mrs. Simpson Miller said greater levels of investments are required to realise the enormous possibilities of the production of cassava starch and other products along the value chain.

“These include flour, bammy, bread, paper, pills and other pharmaceutical products. We need more companies, big and small, to follow the example of Red Stripe to look at how to retool their businesses,” she added.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said Red Stripe’s investments are aligned with the Government’s firm and ongoing efforts to build a new Jamaican economy on the platforms of culturally inspired creativity and innovation.

“Through this transformational move, you’re taking your business operations to the next level, while taking Jamaica to the next level as well. Red Stripe is making business decisions that will lead to increased earnings for your shareholders and job security for your workers,” the Prime Minister said.

For his part, Minister Hylton also lauded the brewing company for its investment in Jamaica.
He noted that Red Stripe’s strategy for growth parallels the government’s national strategy for growth, which is investment in technology and innovation.

“It involves reworking your processes, putting good quality management and workers at the forefront and consistency in working your strategy,” the Minister said.

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UK Prime Minister Liz Truss forced to break tax cut promise



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


#UnitedKingdom, October 6, 2022 – A month into her tenure as Liz Truss, UK Prime Minister is going back on one of her biggest campaign promises to cut taxes for certain British citizens.

The tax cut in question had been part of the PMs signature campaign to ease the economic burden in the UK and one that she and former Finance Minister and candidate for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had repeatedly clashed about. It would have seen the top earners, meaning anyone bringing in over £150 thousand a year, pay less money to the government.

Unfortunately the plan rocked Britain’s economy pushing the pound on par with the US dollar for the first time in years.

It is an economic blow, and at a time when families are already struggling with incredibly high energy bills and inflation. The money to find these tax cuts would have been borrowed an idea that her own party signaled it would vote against.  In addition to the economic impacts British citizens had also been strongly opposed to that facet of the economic plans.

In letting go of the tax cut, Truss said, “We get it and we have listened” the admission coming days after she defended it to the public.

Still there are parts of the larger package that will still go on which will afford tax cuts to lower income families and put a cap on energy costs.

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Bahamas News

Regressive recession looming, forces UN to issue Cease and Desist message to ‘big’ countries



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


October 6, 2022 – Central Banks in advanced nations must stop pushing up interest rates now or risk sending the globe into recession where developing nations suffer most according to the UN.

In the last several months, The U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and Bank of Canada have all spiked interest rates in an effort to control borrowing power, buying power and possibly push down inflation

A new report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development is warning them to cease and desist.

“The world is headed towards a global recession and prolonged stagnation unless we quickly change the current policy course of monetary and fiscal tightening in advanced economies.”  It said, mincing no words, the agency described the potential global recession as ‘policy induced’ by developed countries.   And this recession could be worse than the 2008 crisis.  This is especially true for developing countries like those in the Caribbean.

“While all regions will be affected, alarm bells are ringing most for developing countries, many of which are edging closer to debt default.” The agency said.

And if it happens the recession could set developing nations back years in the struggle to increase their standards of living.

“As climate stress intensifies, so do losses and damage inside vulnerable economies that lack the fiscal space to deal with disasters let alone invest in their own long-term development— The global slowdown will further expose developing countries to a cascade of debt, health, and climate crises.”

If the globe proceeds as is the world will lose 20 percent of its income by and push developing economies growth rate below 3 percent which the UN says  is ‘insufficient for sustainable development’

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Caribbean News

Inaugural FinTech Conference on now in Barbados



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer


#Barbados, October 6, 2022 – Barbados is now hosting the first-ever global fintech conference in the Caribbean.

Over 300 delegates from across the globe and varying sectors within the industry will be attending the event. It began on Wednesday October 5, concluding October  7 and is being staged at the Hilton Barbados.

The Fintech Islands conference will feature renowned fintech leaders delivering key addresses and over 20 hours of curated content. The mandate of the event is to create a world-class event that will be a catalyst for the growth of the fintech ecosystem in the Caribbean.

One major highlight of the conference will be the welcome address by the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, who will also host an exclusive VIP meet and greet.

Some of the major themes of the event that are relevant to the context of the Caribbean venue are Financial Inclusion, Climate Fintech, Cryptocurrencies and Decentralised Finance and Embedded and Open Finance.

The event will have a range of speakers from founders, CEOs and fintech leaders from North America, Latin America (LATAM), Europe and Africa.

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