Jamaicans urged to grow more cerasee
John Mahfood, CEO of Jamaican Teas, is hoping that more persons will start to grow cerasee in order to supply the growing demand for the brew in the form of teabags.
Mahfood says his company is offering persons $400 per pound for the herb that runs wild in some part of the country.
However, Mahfood, who has been buying cerasee for approximately 15 years, laments that the product is becoming scarce.
"People are not cultivating. It is growing wild, but we are not getting enough of it," he said. According to the businessman, cerasee can be cultivated just like any other plants, it is just that people have not really decided to grow it and cultivate it in a formal manner."
He is hoping that an increase in the price that is being paid for the product will entice more persons to not only harvest the plant to sell, but also nurture it.
"Different people go around and buy from small business people who may pick it from the wires. But what we really want are serious farmers to take it," he told THE STAR.
"We looking at 30 tons per year ... . I need about 6,000 pounds per month," he said.
Meanwhile, Curtis Sherman, the parish manager for St Elizabeth at the Jamaica Agricultural Society, believes persons should take the opportunity to cultivate cerasee.
"Growing cerasee would be beneficial because that overhead cost is not there, it is generally free because it is a [low-maintenance] crop," he said.
"All yuh need is to put in like fence for them to run on, which would be the most expensive part," he said.
And with a lot more persons becoming more health conscious, Sherman believes there will be an increase in the demand for herbs with medical benefits.
"Just like the fever grass, there is a huge demand because they use it to make tea," he said.