Essential Oils & Spices Co-op facilities destroyed by ‘Erika’ in Petite Savanne, but seeking to rebuild
Dominica Essential Oils & Spices Co-operative Society Limited’s facilities were destroyed by ‘Tropical Storm Erika’ in Petite Savanne, on 27th August 2015, but they are now seeking to rebuild in a better way, in an alternative suitable location. General Manager Garner Eloi said “We lost our entire production plant in Petite Savanne, all of the equipment, and everything else is gone”. He made that statement at the 5th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Dominica Manufacturers Association (DMA), at the Garraway Hotel on Wednesday.
He said the search is now on to find suitable land for building a distillery. “We are now in recovery mode and our focus is to build back and build better. We are scouting for available land where we can set up a distillery to build back the capacity of bay for export as we did before.”
He stated that the organization lost two employees, i.e., a director and two members during the passage of tropical storm Erika. He added that for purposes of rebuilding, the company needs financial assistance. He appealed to donor agencies to assist in that venture, and noted that currently the company is working with the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) program, to get production going again. He revealed that “An initiative was set up, where we could improve on the local or artisanal distilleries so as to get the production going”.
Despite the challenges posed by the storm, Eloi said there are some positive aspects. “The price of bay was constant, it was at a standstill and after Erika we have seen a drastic spike,” he explained. “The price was $55 per pound and now it is as high as $90 per pound of bay oil, and the demand for bay is increasing. We are appealing to our members; that now is the time to capitalize on the opportunity that exists, and build back the cooperative even better.” Dominica Essential Oils started operations in 1964 as a shipping club, and in 1968, it was registered as an agricultural cooperative.
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