Bahamas’ cascarilla (Croton eluteria) industry is estimated to be worth 1 billion United States Dollars (USD). Annually, the country exports between 4 to 10 tonnes of the bark to Europe, the United States and the United Kingdom, where the essential oils are extracted for use in a variety of food, beverage, neutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries.
The Pine Islands Pilot Project-“Multi-purpose conservation by enabling coastal communities: Native Palm and Cascarilla cultivation,” funded by the Government of the Bahamas and Global Environment Facility (GEF), aimed to sustainably improve the production and processing of cascarilla. The project was executed by the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) in collaboration with several agencies including CARDI.
Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Michael Pintard noted that “historically, Bahamas exported the raw bark resulting in negligible benefits to the people in the south.” This project, he continued, “aimed to change that by empowering stakeholders to produce a value-added product so they can demand a premium for our natural resource.”
On June 9, the video, “Sustainable harvesting of cascarilla,” was launched as an output of the project. It highlights the good agricultural practices to sustainably propagate, grow and harvest cascarilla. The information presented draws on the research work conducted under the project as well as traditional knowledge and practices. The key takeaway message: ensuring sustainability across all operations of the value chain.
To support the expansion of the industry the Government announced that 105 acres of land will be granted to Acklins Islanders Cooperative Society to expand cascarilla production and processing.