Local bamboo ketchup now available

Sunday, January 11, 2015

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AS the Government moves to further the development of the bamboo industry, Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) is currently encouraging investors to take advantage of by-products in the sector.
Already, there is organic bamboo charcoal on the market, and the latest is  bamboo tomato ketchup, which was developed by recent university graduate and head of Jamdun’ Food Processing, Chevaughn Bowen.
Several other value-added products are being looked at by the Bamboo and Indigenous Materials Advisory Council (BIMAC), spearheaded by Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ).
Bowen said he got the idea to make the bamboo tomato ketchup while in discussion with director of special projects at the BSJ, Gladstone Rose, who heads the Government’s bamboo programme.
He then went to China to have a first-hand look at that country’s bamboo industry, and to do further expert research on the properties in the bamboo edible shoots. After he returned, he began producing the bamboo ketchup, which is available locally.
The young innovator, who copped the 2010 Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association top prize for his hot and spicy barbe-fry sauce, says young people who have innovative business ideas should ensure that they are placed in the marketplace for development.
“Idea on paper is no idea at all. Putting a prototype together and trying to get it out there in the market is best. Your idea sitting on paper, it makes no sense. I believe that everybody coming from university should have that state of mind, to become innovative,” he said.
For state minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, the product (bamboo ketchup) is the first of its kind in the world, offering a number of vitamins.
“This is one of the products for diversification, our own bamboo indigenous ketchup. There are several things that we can do with bamboo…there is bamboo pharmaceuticals, the bamboo charcoal, bamboo flooring, furniture, bamboo to feed animals, and the bamboo fabric that is in demand, fetching a high price on the world market,” she said.
“We are looking at the tourism industry, because instead of buying and selling things from other countries to our tourists, we can give them authentic Jamaican products made in Jamaica. That is what people want when they come on a vacation.”
Export development manager at JAMPRO, Marlene Porter, said the bamboo ketchup will be showcased at an upcoming business show in Montego Bay.

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