Jamaica stakeholders urged to take advantage of castor oil market

March 17, 2023

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Mar 17, CMC – Jamaican farmers and other stakeholders are being urged to explore the potential of the local castor bean in a global market that is valued at US$100 million

“Across the world, you are looking at US$75 million to US$100 million [worth] of opportunity in this liquid gold; so, we have a massive global opportunity. There is more than enough reason to move to develop the local castor industry,” said Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Pearnel Charles Jr.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, J.C. Hutchinson, said that there is an existing high demand for Jamaican Black Castor Oil and that a committee should be established to explore the potential of the product on the international market.

“This is a truly Jamaican product that must carry brand Jamaica in every way; and I suggest that a committee be established, “ he said, adding that the committee should comprise the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI), Jamaica 4-H Clubs, the Scientific Research Council (SRC),  processors, farmers, JAMALCO, Jamaica Baptist Union (JBU), and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).

He said the committee could be chaired by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).

Hutchinson speaking at the JBI’s Castor Industry Forum, dubbed: ‘Black Castor Oil – Liquid Gold Untapped,” said in order to realise the potential of the local castor bean, Jamaica needs to have a structured programme which ensures that processors have consistency of supply.

Despite having gained popularity worldwide, the product is not a major farm crop in the island and Hutchinson said “this is too much of an important for it to be faltering by the wayside. I feel strongly about it; so, let us, together, make it work”.

The Agriculture and Fisheries Minister told the forum of the need for training, organisation and planning to maximise opportunities in the industry.

“Now, more than ever, when we push for ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’, we are saying to Jamaica, it is essential to understand the sector and to utilise every inch of land, refine the processing and utilise the research and development to maintain our standards.”

Currently, a study is being done on the Jamaica black castor bean at the Mona campus of the  University of the West Indies (UWI) through a grant facilitated by the JBU and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Upon conclusion, the findings will guide the process of securing the intellectual property rights of the Jamaica Black Castor Oil for the country.

For many years, several companies globally have been producing their own oil, but falsely labelling it ‘Jamaican’.

President of the Jamaica Castor Industry Association (JCIA), Courtney Haughton, said most of the products being marketed as Jamaican Black Castor Oil are fake.

“The only way we can claw back what is ours is if we secure our intellectual property rights. The process includes [the] research now underway at the Mona Institute of Applied Science,” he noted.

“Our next objective is to protect market integrity, because we will need strategic alliances with people who have the capacity to seek out those in violation of our rights and protect us through legal action,” Haughton said.

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