‘Protect castor oil industry or we will lose it’ - producer
Director of Marketing and Promotions at Outa Earth Processors Shirley Lindo is expressing strong views about protecting the Jamaican black castor oil industry.
Speaking at the St Catherine Pavilion at the 64th staging of the Denbigh Agricultural Show in Clarendon last weekend, she said unless urgent attention is given they could lose out on the industry in about six months.
"If the government doesn't move promptly to rescue the country's castor oil production, then we are in danger of losing it within six months," she warned.
Lindo, whose operation is located at Bernard Lodge in St Catherine, said where the Jamaica black castor oil is concerned, there is a clear and present danger.
"Jamaica castor oil is under threat, as this industry that is just emerging may die because we are being attacked from outside," are the ominous words coming from her.
According to Lindo, as it stands, anyone across the world is free to attach the 'made in Jamaica' on a container with castor oil and sell it, "so the big market that is existing for Jamaica's castor oil is not coming to Jamaica, but instead is going to all the other people who are making chemically extracted castor oil, adding flavour to it and collecting money".
Lindo, whose company has been in existence for the past 12 years, said in earlier years things were much better where sales were concerned.
"We have been exporting but our export packet has been cut drastically because our buyers can get it cheaper. Those who are imitating us are buying it everywhere else except Jamaica, because we are not yet taking advantage of what we are doing and not organising and not making use of standards," she said.
The solution, Lindo believes, is for the players in the industry to unite, as that's the only way to face the foreign market.
"It is not about me, it is about an industry, and it needs all the players to get involved and the Bureau of Standards to form an association," she said.
The Jamaica black castor oil is well known for its many uses, including the medicinal benefits such as massage oil for aches, laxative, first aid for cuts and other skin conditions, as well as promoting hair growth.
There is already a step in the right direction as she said a meeting has been arranged at Jamaica Promotions on August 9 to examine some of the issues.