Local farmers are being encouraged to cultivate ample quantities of crops that are used to produce essential oils to enable them and, by extension, Jamaica to tap into the multi-billion-dollar global market for these nutraceuticals.
The suggestion was made by state minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce Dr Norman Dunn, who cited ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, pimento, and castor beans, as examples of these crops.
He said the global market, which is projected to reach US$15.3 billion by 2027, presents an opportunity for stakeholders in the local food processing, fragrance and cosmetic industries to exploit.
“In Jamaica, we have the raw material for the [oils] which [are] in high demand. Our ginger and black castor oil, in particular, are highly prized in the food and cosmetic industry overseas,” Dr Dunn pointed out.
He was speaking during a recent ceremony at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) in Kingston to commission an essential oil incubator.
The 2,400-square-foot facility was built by the JBDC and includes a 500-litre steam distiller, 18-litre steam and hydro distillation unit, testing lab, and facilities to process and extract materials.
Noting that Jamaica imports more than 80 per cent of the essential oils used, Dr Dunn urged farmers to “consider how you can take advantage of this new facility”.
He further encouraged them to engage the JBDC to forge the partnerships that will facilitate this, “as well as training on good manufacturing processes, supply chain management, and business development skills”.
Meanwhile, Dr Dunn said the Government continues to provide incentives for registered companies in the manufacturing sector, through Productive Input Relief (PIR).
“The PIR comes under the Government’s Fiscal Incentive Relief Act, where we try to minimise the tax-induced increase in production costs, so that our manufacturers can reduce the cost of their inputs,” he said.
Under the incentive regime, manufacturers also benefit from duty-free imports of goods, packaging items and equipment.