Jamaica’s transport ministry partners with farmers to produce castor oil for biodiesel
The Ministry of Transport and Mining, through the Jamaica Bauxite Institute, is partnering with small farmers across the country to boost cultivation of the castor oil plant to produce biodiesel for the Jamaica Urban Transit Co. Ltd.
Robert Montague, the portfolio minister who made the disclosure, said that the ministry will be moving to secure some 5,000 acres of “unclaimed lands” to begin growing the castor plant.
Montague noted Nov. 19 that Jamaica has the capacity to manufacture and distribute castor oil on a large scale.
“We are moving with the JBI to institute a castor oil project,” Montague said. “We have just signed off on a big deal with a company to supply the JUTC with biodiesel.”
When it was discovered JUTC uses biodiesel made from castor oil imported from India, Montague said, “We can grow castor oil right here in Jamaica. So, what we are moving to do is to plant up a lot of these reclaimed lands with castor oil, [process it] and sell it to this company … and the JBI will be leading that process to plant some 5,000 acres of castor oil.”
The minister indicated that a deal has already been finalized with the Jamaica Castor Oil Growers Association to get production going.
He noted that local castor oil is in great demand worldwide, and “we have seen others” making products and branding them as Jamaican.
“We want to grow it here, and we want to grow it with the small farmers in the entire Jamaica,” he added.