From red and white wines to breadfruit bread
KPC students create amazing consumer products with 90% local ingredients
Fresh off the opening of its agro-processing laboratory, the Knockalva Polytechnic College (KPC) in Hanover is now ready to take on the local consumer market, if not the international market, with a range of products.
Last Friday, students pursuing their associate degree in agro-processing and business management showed a wide array of products they have developed to create new options for consumers.
The students, guided by their tutor Murphy Gooden, spent several weeks fine-tuning their creative ideas, which manifested in some 30 products, utilising 90 per cent locally produced ingredients. The products, which were put on display and judged by an outside panel, included wines, punches and juices, jams, sauces, spices and seasoning, bread and cake mixes.
“All the products are good; they deserve credit. The seasoning is very good, very Jamaican, and was tasty. The wines are very good; you could hardly distinguish between red wine and white wine that I’ve had before, so they are up there with others,” said Reverend Kevin Stewart, who was the principal judge.
While noting that there is room for minor improvement with some of the jams, Stewart nonetheless gave them high marks. In addition, he was seemingly blown away by the baked products, especially the breadfruit bread.
“One or two (the jams) could be a little creamier, but, depending on the material used, one could understand,” said Stewart. “The baked products are excellent; the breadfruit bread was exceptional. I think they (the products) can stand up against any other product on the commercial market, and with a little more assistance, I think they can do well.”
Like Stewart, Pauleen Reid, the principal at KPC, is quite impressed with the products and is already envisaging the KPC holding pride of place on the local market in the near future, especially if the requisite support can be had from the Ministry of Agriculture.
“We’re going to be hitting the shelves,” said the enthusiastic Reid. “They have been looking at seasonal, natural products, and that is good for us here. So if we are able to produce them and get them on the shelves, that would be good, as everyone is health conscious these days and are looking for natural products that do not carry a lot of preservatives; so it should be a big sell.”
It should be interesting to note that most of the raw materials used by the students were reaped from the 216-acre property on which the institution is located.
The principal commended the students for the items they produced and the quality of the exhibition they put on to show off their capacity to create high-quality products.
“We must commend the passion they have been exhibiting, because they took on to this idea, and they have been so dedicated, zealous and committed to what they do, and they’re consistent,” said Reid. He was full of praise for the students’ entrepreneurial zeal. “When you go into the lab and see them, they are professional in their demeanour,” he said.
Gooden, who relished the idea of guiding the students, disclosed that all the products that were on display were born out of the students’ creativity. He said they have already created the requisite business plans to take the products to market.