The Government of Bahamas is exploring the potential of expanding the production of Cascarilla (Croton eluteria) and growing new businesses around this valuable shrub. The Bahamas Development Bank is partnering with the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC), The Department of Forestry, The Department of Cooperatives, The Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI), The Bahamas, Environment, Science and Technology Commission (BEST), The Inter American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and CARDI on this initiative.
CARDI Bahamas was part of the team that visited the out islands of Acklins, Crooked and Samana Cay from 20-24 May 2019 to conduct research on Cascarilla’s habitat, agronomy and harvesting practices. The team also engaged with the local communities on these islands to discuss the development of a value added industry.
The Cascarilla bark is a key ingredient in the production of the popular aperitif Campari. The bark is currently exported to Italy, United Kingdom, France, USA and Germany. The oil is also very valuable and used in manufacturing of perfumes and medicines.
The plan is to increase exports by developing a sustainable industry. The focus is on developing a sustainable propagation plant and the establishment of locally based, oil processing plants.
With Bahamas’ thrust to diversify its economy the industrialisation of Cascarilla will create jobs, develop the economies and spur small business development on these islands.