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SWT pepper project receives additional funding

Date of release: 01/14/98

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS — A project sponsored by Southwest Texas State University aimed at providing economic relief for some rural Caldwell County families has received additional funding.

The Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded $25,000 to the Central Texas Specialty Food Collaborative Initiative.

The goal of the project will be to give economically disadvantages families the skills to produce, process and market peppers, especially jalapenos, and vegetables that are popular in Mexican cuisine. The project is under the direction of Jaime Chahin, SWT associative vice president of human resources and assistant professor of social work, and Glen Rydl, professor of agriculture.

The EDA money will be used to study the feasibility of growing, processing and exporting jalapenos and related products. The study will analyze current demand, projected growth for national and international markets, the optimum product mix (raw, processed, canned, etc.) and appropriate market price.

It will also identify seasonal market cycles, develop business strategies and research new technologies for producing, processing and distributing peppers. Finally, the market study will find markets for by-products of the primary pepper production.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded SWT a $50,000 grant to fund the first year of a three-year project last fall.