Incatema completes a guide to promote consumption of dehydrated tuber flours in the Caribbean region

25 March, 2021

Incatema Consulting & Engineering has collaborated with the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) and with their partner CARDI (Caribbean Research and Development Institute) in the preparation of the book Cooking with tropical flours. The book contains more than 20 recipes for starters, main dishes and desserts, whose main ingredients are sweet potato and manioc flours.

To prepare the manual, the two organisations have carried out a series of participatory workshops on the island of Grenada, which have helped to integrate manioc and sweet potato (also known as yam or batata) flours into the traditional dishes of Eastern Caribbean cuisine. The final result has been a proposal of seven starters, eight main dishes and five desserts that include these ingredients.

“Following the principle of developing agri-food chains from production through to the end consumer, who finally inspires all of Incatema’s actions” says Ana Romero, Director of Consulting at Incatema Consulting & Engineering “on this occasion we have worked through to final inclusion of the products in local cuisine, by developing a recipe book that integrates the new products promoted by the FAO in the traditional cuisine of Eastern Caribbean countries.”

Tuber crops increase the resilience of farms in tropical countries where agricultural production is highly exposed to inclement weather from hurricanes and tropical storms. Moreover, introducing sweet potato production incorporates a product that is rich in vitamins and antioxidants and contributes to reducing endemic micronutrient deficiencies in the local diet”.

Flour, Caribbean cooking’s main ingredient

Flour is omnipresent in Caribbean cuisine. However, throughout the years, the increased availability and accessibility of wheat flour has replaced the traditional flours of many Caribbean dishes. Nowadays, a rising trade bill for imported foods, increasing health problems and a renewed focus on local food is offering tremendous opportunities to increase the use of tropical flours in Caribbean cuisine.

The goal of the recipe book is to encourage the replacement of wheat flour and increase the use of tropical flours based on manioc, banana, yam and breadfruit. The result is an eclectic mix of traditional dishes and international cuisine, all with the unique Caribbean style and flavour, which demonstrate the versatility and dynamism of tropical flours and highlight how these humble ingredients can be transformed into delicious, tasty and healthy offers.

The use of local flours promotes sustainable development and food safety

Increasing the use of tropical flours not only offers families healthier and more affordable food options, but also creates opportunities and strengthens local supply chains. Employment increases throughout the entire value chain, strengthening food and nutritional safety and promoting environmental management.

Incatema Consulting & Engineering subscribed a collaboration agreement with the FAO last year to promote food safety strategies and the sustainability of farming production in the Caribbean region, by means of promoting the cultivation, processing and conservation of tubers, which allow the agri-food offer to be diversified and local production to become more resilient.

COVID 19 prevention in farms

The workshops conducted on the Island of Grenada to prepare the recipes have represented a challenge for collecting the recipes in safe conditions to prevent the spread of COVID, and at the same time, has been an opportunity for developing a practical COVID prevention guide for farming operations.

Future actions will be directed at disseminating the results throughout the rest of the region’s countries which collaborate with the FAO in this initiative.