KENSINGTON – Technology Crops International (TCI) is looking to expand crambe production on the Island.
Crambe (pronounced CRAM-BEE) is a shrubby looking herb native to the Mediterranean.
According to the Alternative Field Crops Manual, crambe is closely related to mustard.
It was first developed as a crop in the U.S.S.R. and made the jump to North America in the 1940s.
It came to P.E.I. in 2009.
That’s when TCI set up shop in Kensington and started processing crambe seeds to make oils.
Now they need more of it – quite a bit more.
“Basically to meet our market demand,” explained Crystal Cormier, Administrative Manager of TCI.
“We have been seeing a steady growth of oil sales, which, in turn, means a steady growth of contracted acres with Island growers.”
TCI buys crambe, as well as a few other varieties of plants most people (unless they’re a botanist) have never heard of, and processes them at their plant in Kensington.
Crambe oil, specifically, is sold to other companies that turn it into cosmetics, hair products, polyesters, industrial lubricants, corrosion inhibitors and even use it as an ingredient in synthetic rubber.
It’s quite a versatile plant, and TCI is hoping to attract an unspecified amount of new acreage.
Cormier declined, for business reasons, to say how much acreage they’re looking for.
“Crambe is quite profitable for growers. It is on par or higher than most cash crops (canola, soybean) and one advantage to growing crops for TCI is that our prices are stable and do not fluctuate as they do with some other crops,” pointed out Cormier.
It’s also easy to grow.
“Any grower on P.E.I. would be able to grow crambe, there’s nothing special or specific about it. We’ve had great success with the crop and the yields,” she added.
Anyone who’d like to know more about crambe or who would like to inquire about growing some can contact TCI at its Kensington office at 836-3332.
Source: The Journal Pioneer