The Complete Caribbean study indicates that the US market for the product stands at about US$28 million.
“The potential sales are much higher than I thought they would ever be,” said Private Sector Development Specialist with Complete Caribbean, Frankie Whitwell, who presented the research findings at a recent seminar hosted by the Government’s investment promotion agency Jampro.
“We have to increase production, among a raft of other measures,” he added.
In an interview with the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Director of the Jamaica Castor Industry Association (JCIA) Shirley Lindo noted that the findings indicate “the high value of the local castor bean.”
She pointed to the need for policies to adequately and clearly define the Jamaican black castor oil and implementation of geographic indicators (GI) to ensure its protection.
GI, according to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), is a sign applied to products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
“We have taken too long to claim this oil for ourselves. It needs protection. I am a producer and I have had a situation where (foreign) companies have undermined my bid because of pricing because the consumers, who do not know what the product is, will go with price,” she said.
Vice-President of sales and promotions at Jampro Claude Duncan, in his presentation, noted that the agency is driving the growth of the local castor oil industry in order to command a greater share of the global market estimated at close to US$4 billion.