Cascarilla bark has been exported from the Bahamas for decades but the average Acklins and Crooked Islander receives a miniscule proportion of the true value of this unique resource, about $6 per pound. The dry rocky setting of the southern islands offer the best conditions in world for growing Cascarilla. The endemic species, Bahamian Cascarilla, (croton eluteria) generates such high potency Cascarilla essential oil that our bark is particularly valuable. This essential oil is used in a wide range of products including Campari Liquor. The oil has medicinal uses, is an insect repellant, and is sought after by the perfume industry. Compared to the bark, the oil is valued at many multiples per ounce.
The Bahamas Development Bank in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Forestry, Department of Cooperatives, BAIC, and private concerns are working together to industrialize Cascarilla production for the betterment of the entire community in the southern Bahamas. The planned distillation facility will allow for Cascarilla oil to be extracted on Acklins. Cascarilla farmers in the southern islands have formed a cooperative that will collectively farm and harvest the plant to supply the distillation facility and receive of share of the proceeds from Cascarilla oil sales. Farming the Cascarilla plant ensures that the population remains healthy and sustainable. It also reduces the burden on harvesters, who will no longer have to travel long distances over difficult terrain to find a supply of the plant.