Govt hoping to increase production, expand the use of cascarilla
The government is hoping to increase the production and expand the use of cascarilla through strategic partnerships, by heading to Acklins and Crooked Island to conduct scientific and anecdotal research on the plant, according to a government press release, which reveals that cascarilla oil processing facilities are in the works.
Cascarilla is commonly used in the production of the popular European aperitif Campari, but is also used as an essential oil and in medicines and perfumes.
“Presently, The Bahamas is exporting only the cascarilla bark to the United Kingdom, Italy, France, the United States of America and Germany,” states the release.
“In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, the Bahamas Agricultural & Industrial Corporation (BAIC), the Department of Forestry, the Department of Cooperatives, the Bahamas Agriculture & Marine Science Institute (BAMSI), the Bahamas Environment, Science & Technology (BEST) Commission, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Caribbean Agricultural Research & Development Institute (CARDI) and other strategic partners, and in continuation of fulfilling its mandate to expand the Bahamian economy, the Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) again travels to Acklins and Crooked Island to accompany its partners as the industrialization of cascarilla project progresses.
“During the visit, technical experts from the Department of Forestry, BAMSI and CARDI will conduct the preliminary assessment of the cascarilla resource on Acklins, Crooked Island and Samana Cay.”
According to the press statement, the project will take stock of the total amount of cascarilla on each of the islands. It added that studies will also take into account the agronomy of cascarilla and the make-up of the soil the plant grows in.
“Plant samples will be laboratory tested upon return to the capital,” the release states.
“Another team led by IICA will conduct surveys of harvesters on Acklins and Crooked Island to gather information on critical practices impacting the cascarilla plant. The final two days of the week-long mission will see residents and interested persons participate in town hall meetings, the first of which will be held on Crooked Island on Thursday, May 23rd at the E. Thompson Community Center. The following day, Friday, May 24th, 2019, Acklins will have its meeting at the Spring Point Community Center.”
The release said the trip is co-funded by government and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) project, which “seeks to facilitate on-island value added production”.
“The key program objectives are to increase exports, foster the sustainability of the cascarilla through organized propagation of the plant, facilitate at least two commercially viable cascarilla oil processing facilities, enable the creation of five new ancillary businesses, support expansion of family island economies and aid in the creation of many jobs,” the release states.
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