Gov’t working with farmers to produce castor oil for biodiesel | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News

The Ministry of Transport and Mining, through the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI), is partnering with small farmers across the country to boost cultivation of the castor oil plant to produce biodiesel for the Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited (JUTC).

Portfolio Minister, Robert Montague, who made the disclosure, said that the Ministry will be moving to secure some 5,000 acres of “unclaimed lands” to commence growing the castor plant.

Minister Montague, who was speaking at the opening of the Jamaica Bauxite Mining Limited’s (JBM) administrative building at Reynold’s Pier in Ocho Rios, St Ann, on Friday, November 19, noted 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. We have just signed off on a big deal with a company to supply the JUTC with biodiesel. [We subsequently] discovered that the mineral oil they use, the element they use is [actually] castor oil…that they actually import from India… and we can grow castor oil right here in Jamaica,” he noted.

“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,” he said.

The Minister indicated that a deal has already been finalised 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.

Construction of this JBM administrative building was undertaken by the Port Authority of Jamaica.

Work initially started in May 2018 but was delayed due to some geotechnical issues. After resolving many of these issues, the project was restarted in October 2018 and was completed in August 2019.

The Reynold’s Pier is a mixed port that is utilised by both the Port Authority and the JBM for the berthing of cargo vessels and cruise ships