Revive the ortanique industry!Wednesday, September 01, 2021
The ortanique fruit was developed and crafted in Manchester in the late 1800s by David Daniel Phillips. This unique invention was submitted to the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) on March 1, 1939 and became the chief crop grown extensively throughout Manchester.
Estates such as Marlborough and Hartham in the south of the parish were well-known areas in the 19th and early 20th centuries for producing it for export.
Under the leadership of the Jamaica Citrus Growers' Association they managed to increase operations from 22,246 field boxes in 1960 to 1961 to 73,616 boxes in 1962 to 1963, and were expected to reach 250,000 boxes by 1967.
By-products in the form of liqueurs and juices were derived from the fruit. In the late 1970s to early '80s, the Sangster's Ortanique Rum Liqueur penetrated the market and began its distribution to 30 countries around the world.
Sadly, and most regrettably, the fruit and trees took a major decline due to bauxite mining, most notably in Manchester, as bauxite mining destroyed lands in areas that were once occupied by these trees.
We should be ashamed as Jamaicans, and especially 'Manchestarians', for the destruction of a citrus fruit that was not only developed by a citizen of the parish, but one that can provide employment and by-products in the post-bauxite era.
I am, therefore, calling upon the Members of Parliament of the parish to lobby for the rehabilitation of mined bauxite lands that are currently an eyesore to be used for the replanting of our indigenous ortanique trees in order to revive this industry.