Jamaicans looking to go into the essential oil business can now access manufacturing space at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) production incubator off Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston.
The 2,400-square foot Essential Oil Incubator houses equipment and washing facilities to process raw materials and extract the oil manually or electronically.
Other machinery includes an 18-litre steam and hydro-distillation unit, as well as a 500-litre steam distillation unit.
Entrepreneurs will also have access to a small laboratory that will allow for standard testing of essential oils produced in the space.
State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr. the Hon Norman Dunn, who commissioned the Essential Oil Incubator into service on Friday (December 2), said that the facility is a firm indication of the Government’s push to develop the value chain in agriculture while strengthening non-traditional industries.
He said that the incubator is expected to impact roughly 4,500 people by the end of its four-year cycle.
“The Ministry has been allocating resources to similar industries, such as cannabis, craft, and bamboo. We have been tapping into the natural resource in this country as well as the ingrained creative and entrepreneur spirit to develop high-quality, unique Jamaican products and services to meet global demand,” he pointed out.
Minister Dunn said that the global essential oil industry, according to market reports, is estimated to reach US$15.3 billion by 2027, and Jamaica can benefit from this opportunity.
“We have the raw material for the oils, which are in high demand [such as] ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, pimento, castor oil, coconut oil and others,” he pointed out.
On her part, Chief Executive Officer of the JBDC, Valerie Veira, lauded the Government for approving the budget for the incubator project.
“When we presented [the project], there was absolutely no hesitation by the committee to approve the concept and, in fact, to approve the budget. So, we got $15 million as seed money to set up the incubator,” she disclosed.
“I just want to say that this is a catalyst for many more businesses to grow along the value chain,” she emphasised.
The JBDC is expected to also manufacture and sell its own essential oils while promoting the availability of the space to entrepreneurs, with the aim of stimulating business in communities.