The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharper focus the need and demand for plant-based medicine in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“Increasing production of crops which are currently imported as a part of an import substitution drive and the establishment of extraction systems for a plant-based medicinal industry are two means of deepening the diversification process, in addition to expanding the acreages of commodities already forming part of the extremely diverse production platform,” Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar told Parliament on Monday.
He said that for many years, information about the medicinal properties of many plants has been canvassed across the country.
He said that Jo-Ann Ince Jack has written and published a book on the subject.
Caesar said that his ministry has contacted Professor Leonard O’Garro, at the University of the West Indies to do a costing on an entire plant-based medicinal extract value chain.
“This is expected to be completed in approximately three months. The plants which will be the main focus, but the list is not limited, are arrowroot, aloe vera, turmeric, moringa, mushroom, ginger, noni, neem, coconut for coconut oil, mauby and nutmeg.”
The agriculture minister said that the idea is “to establish clear standards and compliance research protocols for entities wishing to explore the extraction of plant-based medicine in St. Vincent and Grenadines.
“This research-only programme will be for 24 months minimum, after which Professor O’Garro is expected to advise on possible pathways to develop a full-fledged plant based medicinal extraction industry, this will certainly compliment the first phase of the industry which touches and concerns medicinal cannabis extraction,” he said.