Thursday, October 27, 2016
THIRTY-TWO young farmers from Clarendon who were recently trained by the HEART Trust/NTA under Project Grow, Red Stripe’s local raw materials initiative, have been given full-time jobs at the beer company’s Spring Plain cassava farm in the same parish.
Farm supervisor Greg Howell welcomed the effort, stating that the opportunities created by Red Stripe will benefit all stakeholders.
“It’s a win-win for the community and Red Stripe. Let’s take into consideration that the workers have to commute here and the students have to order lunch here; the money spent benefits surrounding businesses,” said Howell.
“In Spring Plain there were several youngsters who were unemployed. Some were trained at HEART but remained unemployed. This programme gives them an opportunity to earn a living,” he added.
“The training programme was a good experience for me, as a young person learning and interacting with different people. I feel good about the opportunity and it will help me become independent,” said Natalia Hervin, one of several women in the newly hired group.
Red Stripe collaborated with the HEART Trust to train the workers. The company says it has plans to train up to 300 more youth as it aims to achieve its target of 400 primarily young farmers in a new commercial cassava market in four years’ time.
New farmer Kishan Pinnock said the experience has been life changing for him.
“Training was rough. It was quite an experience and has had great impact on my life. It has been six years since I am unemployed. I tried everywhere. This programme makes other young people look up to me and want to earn an honest living to help themselves and their family. My family is happy and amazed,” he said.
Project Grow is one of the major pillars in Red Stripe’s sustainability agenda. Under the initiative Red Stripe grows cassava for its starch, which is used to replace a growing percentage of imported corn syrup used in the brewing of beer.
Since its inception in 2014, the company has trained nearly 100 youth in crop production who are now managing about 450 acres of lands which is under cassava cultivation.
Source: Jamaica Observer