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Abstract

Root and tuber crops have one of the highest potential for value-added development as well as capacity for addressing the food and nutrition security needs in the CARICOM region. However, it appears that the micro, small and medium enterprises, which are leading value-added activities on the ground, face several constraints to growth and development. The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) undertook a situation assessment through a census of cassava and sweet potato processors in 7 participating countries in the region- Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago. The census focussed on business operations, the business and marketing environment, and financing and accessibility of business support services. The census found that most processors are micro (56%), linked to subsistence and small-farmer farm production systems, mainly focused on cassava processing and produced a range of products using traditional methods. Major constraints were found in the processing technology; food safety management; business development for small entrepreneurs and product development. From these findings, specific evidence-based recommendations were made to inform national and regional initiatives that could support cassava and sweet potato processing in the Caribbean.

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