Cassava Festival in Kwebanna

―set for December 14

―ahead of Commissioning of Cassava Flour Factory

Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Press Release

The Farmers Group along with the Hand-in-Hand Women’s Group in Kwebanna Village, Moruca sub-region, Barima/Waini, Region One, successfully concluded a one-week training exercise in preparation for the hosting of the first-ever Cassava Festival scheduled for December 14.

The session which was conducted by Hinterland Employment Youth Service (HEYS) Catering Facilitator, Margaret Cornette, saw fifty women participating in the five-day exercise.

The training targeted members of the two groups to creatively experiment with the Cassava Flour before the commissioning of the much-anticipated Cassava Flour Processing Facility. It will ensure the standardised amount of ingredients (mixture) are obtained in preparing several delicious foods to meet local and international standards.

After the training session, Chairperson of the Women’s Group, Barbara Peters, said, “We had a good time. There were fifty persons from Monday to Friday because we are preparing for the festival on December 14.”

Expressing great excitement, Peters said, “We used cassava flour and the cassava meal and the cassava starch and we made starch custard, starch pie, starch muffin, seasoned plantain coated with starch, cassava fruit cake, cassava ginger/cheese sticks, cassava puff, seasoned cassava, cassava surprise, quenchers. So, the training was very successful and I’m happy that the turnout was good.”

Participant Leandra France said, “I was in the Golden Apple Group because they put us in six groups and it was exciting and very interesting. I learnt that a lot of things can be made with cassava flour. This training will help us to prepare not only for the local people but for people who will be visiting our community in the future.”

Lorna Wilson from the Pineapple Group said, “I can tell you we had a very wonderful time with our teacher using the cassava flour and there was a sale at the end and most of the group had sold out. So now we are awaiting the Cassava Festival.”

Fabian France who is the Chairman of the Cassava Flour Processing Facility noted that “the training was good and it will benefit the ladies, it will also benefit all the nearby villages Manawarin, Santa Cruz, Warapoka.”

Cornette who spent the entire week working along with the women said, “I am very excited for the ladies; it was very interesting and motivational and they worked among themselves and it was good to see maximum participation”.

Meanwhile, Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs Hon. Valerie Garrido-Lowe said, “The farmers are enthusiastic about the cassava flour and wheat flour mixture and we want to ensure the correct mixture that would make excellent bread, cakes and pastries, will be packaged and marketed.”

“Ms. Cornette, who does an excellent job in this area, was sent with a mandate to work with the villagers to come up with the right consistency, come up with the right mixture that can guarantee that when people use it, they can produce delicious meals,” the Minister added.

It was also noted that new and delicious recipes were created and will be unveiled during the commissioning of the facility.

Some thirty farmers are currently planting cassava to supply to the facility and during the launch of the project in March 2018, Minister Garrido-Lowe had remarked, “many of us plant cassava but how many of us earn properly from it? So, it is time that we balance it off, we have to get our cassava out there on the market and get paid for it.”

The Minister at the time also stated that “we will process the cassava flour and mix it with wheat flour; 40% cassava flour and 60% wheat flour and get a mixed product of Cassava Wheat Flour”.

The one-day Cassava Festival seeks to further highlight the great potential of Kwebanna and according to organisers, patrons will enjoy several delicious dishes prepared from by-products of the cassava.

There will be additional booths offering local foods, drinks and craft, in addition to several sporting events among them football, cricket and volleyball.