January, 2021

Pimento products continue to face challenges throughout the Caribbean, as Jamaica faced a strenuous summer production period due to severe weather conditions and COVID-19 complications. Faced with delays throughout their primary collection months, Pimento farmers have had a late start to their oil production, and material remains relatively sparse. The Jamaican government has also started to consider creating new policies that would shift away from Pimento Leaf production and focus more on Pimento Berry, as many in the region view Pimento Leaf’s harvesting process as “wasteful.” This is due to the fact that pimento leaves act as natural protection for the plant’s berries, shielding them from wind and rain. Once the leaves are removed, the berries have a much higher risk of falling off the plant before they are mature, leading to potential waste, as the berries also provide a useful essential oil on top of their lucrative reputation within the island’s spice trade.

If new legislation passes in Jamaica restricting the harvest of pimento leaf, the crop may experience even more delays than it has already sustained, likely leading to a general lack of future availability. Growers in the region already tend to prefer pimento berry, as its usage is more versatile than the leaf, though both are staple ingredients of the flavor and fragrance industry. As of right now, the availability of all pimento products remains low, and many are struggling to find material across the island.

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Written By
Sean Farley