FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: JULY 19, 2022
KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) is inviting local farmers to submit their applications for consideration for the Grow Castor Bean Project. This project is a partnership between the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Jamaica Baptist Union, with the JBDC being responsible for the training component. Applications for the project began on July 18, 2022, and will run until July 27, 2022, and interested persons are invited to complete the application form at www.jbdc.net.
Project Management & Research Manager at the JBDC, Amanda McKenzie noted “We are targeting eighty (80) farmers located in St. Catherine, Clarendon, St. Elizabeth, St. Ann, and Manchester. These farmers will need to provide evidence of their occupation through a RADA Registration Card or any other suitable means.”
The project is designed to create wealth in roughly 337 Baptist Church communities. The overall objective of the Grow Castor Bean Project is to provide a consistent supply of castor oil for markets locally and internationally. The JBDC’s role as the training entity is to provide farmers with the requisite knowledge, business skills and techniques necessary to operate and maintain sustainable businesses.
The workshops are scheduled to take place on August 10, 11 & 17 in Mandeville, Manchester. Continuing, Ms. McKenzie noted “The business skills workshop is aimed at developing specific business skills for farmers including persons who cultivate and process castor beans. The workshops are designed to be interactive, experiential, and practical; utilising case studies and numerous activity-based methodologies.” Participants can look forward topics such as:
- The Entrepreneurial Mindset
- Starting a Sustainable Business: Key Steps
- Strategic Management Must-Dos
- Managing Business Operations
- Marketing 101: Mastering the 5 Ps
- Using technology to Connect with Customers
- Introduction to Financial Management
Ms. McKenzie said “There is an immediate opportunity to increase the production of castor on a more formalised and commercial scale to realize further growth and value. Through this partnership, farmers will be supported to formalise and commercialise their operations to ensure greater efficiency and viability.”
On the importance of this project to the Micro Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise (MSME) sector, Ms. McKenzie said the project directly supports MSMEs involved in agriculture and agro-processing to supply wide spanning markets and develop innovations that will help them to boost productivity, competitiveness, and growth.
Ms. McKenzie pointed out that “It has been observed that castor bean farmers largely operate informal businesses thus not benefiting from the same opportunities as more formalised operations. Business skills training is therefore essential to improve farmers’ management of, and increased access to facilities such as access to financing.”
Castor oil is used primarily in the pharmaceutical industry as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory; in cosmetic applications; and in the manufacturing of high-grade lubricants and biodiesel fuel. On the US market, real Jamaican Castor Oil has the potential to earn between US$80 million and US$100 million and globally, upwards of US$200 million.