Dr. Nadim Shaath shows samples of essential oils at the meeting of essential oils stakeholders
Dr. Nadim Shaath shows samples of essential oils at the meeting of essential oils stakeholders

Forgive me if this sounds trite but the essential oils industry is absolutely "essential" to the survival of a large section of Dominica especially the South East. And that fact is not lost on the United Workers Party (UWP) as it builds up its campaign to become the next government of Dominica.

So, last week Wednesday the UWP gathered about fifty persons at the conference room of the Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU) on Valley Road in Roseau to talk about what can be done to save an industry that has been neglected for decades.

"There's a lot of money to be made in this sector and we have benefited over the years from bay oil and the Essential Oils Cooperative," said Dr. Thompson Fontaine, the main organiser of the one-day meeting and also the UWP general election candidate for Grand Fond, a former major producer of bay.

To assist the UWP in stressing the importance of the essential oils industry to the economic and social development of Dominica, the party brought in Dr.Nadim Shaath, one of the world's leading experts on essential oils.

Impressing the audience, and certainly confusing many too, with the intricate chemistry of essential oils, Dr Shaath, however, suggested that Dominica has much to do before taking advantage of the lucrative market for essential oils.

"The industry is growing and some countries are dropping production," he said. "You have to distinguish yourself. Number one, you have to know what you want to pursue. Number two, you have to distinguish yourself, you have to have organic certification."

Organic products sell for at least twice the price of other products, Dr. Shaarth said.

Additionally, he suggested that Dominica should focus on these oils: Basil Oil Sweet; Geranium Oil; Lemon Grass Oil; Patchouli Oil; Vetivert Oil and Ylang-Ylang Oil.

"Six of these is an industry," he said. "The world market for these seven oils is 100 million US dollars annually."