How to make Jamaican-style rice, sweet potatoes and kiwi in minutes
JICA (AFP) – For most of us, making Jamaican rice, the sweet potatoes, the kiwis and the cassava isn’t a challenge.
But for the people of the Pacific island nation of Tonga, it’s a bit more complicated.
“There’s a lot of different types of rice in Tonga.
I think the ones we’re using in the Caribbean are really the ones that have a lot more salt, and they’re a bit sweeter,” says Papa Murphy’s founder and president of the International Rice Association, Todu Muthu.
He says he thinks the Tongans are using more salt because it’s more difficult to get salt in the country.
“So it’s not just salt.
It’s a very complex mix of salt, water, flour and spices that have been put together,” he says.”
But it’s actually quite easy to do.
It takes about four hours of labour.
You need to be able to get the salt right, and you need to have the right spices.”
The island nation is in a drought, but there is also the challenge of food prices.
The island has about two million people and has been hit by a severe drought in recent years.
Muthu says there are also many people who can’t afford to eat rice.
“It’s a tough situation because there are no jobs for many of the people here.
So it’s really tough for them,” he said.”
And the price of rice is also very high.
So they’re just struggling to make ends meet.
So, it makes it very difficult for a lot.
And that’s what we’ve got to do.”
Mutha Murphy’s sister and the founder of Papa Murphy International, Joanne Murphy, says the rice and sweet potato plantations are struggling too.
“They’re in extreme poverty,” she said.
So much so that they’ve gone through all sorts of difficulties to help themselves and their families.
“We have to find ways of making our rice and our sweet potatoes because there’s no other food that we can get,” she says.
Mulugeta Kowalasana from the National Council of Agriculture and Rural Development says there is no easy solution to the food crisis.
“The problem is we are not able to buy more food.
The rice and the sweet potato crop is very vulnerable,” he told ABC Radio Tonga in a recent interview.”
I think we have to get rid of it and replace it with something that we will be able and able to eat.”
Kowalakasana says a major challenge for the country is the lack of jobs.
“People are struggling and there’s an enormous amount of poverty,” he added.
“This is not just a problem in Tongas.
We’re talking about the whole of Asia, the whole world.”
The BBC’s David Lister in New York says the island nation has faced similar problems for generations.
“Tongan food is really the only thing they have, and it’s very difficult to grow it because there is just so much competition for that,” he reports.
“You have people in the village who can only work at home and who can make two meals a day.
So there’s very little money.”