Desert bean oil comes to Canadian Prairies

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SASKATOON (Staff) – Jojoba is grown as an industrial oil crop in the Sonora Desert in Arizona, Mexico, Baja California and South America, and one company is processing it in Saskatoon.

Floratech, a company based in Gilbert, Ariz., produces products used by cosmetics giants Pond’s, Elizabeth Arden, Mary Kay, Maybelline, Ralph Lauren and the Canadian MAC.

Many companies across North American possess the technology to process jojoba bean oil, but only POS Pilot Plant in Saskatoon has the ability to do all of the steps under one roof, said Floratech president Jim Brown.

Long-term deal

The Protein Oil Starch Corporation is a research and development company based at the University of Saskatchewan. Their division, Nuvotech Ventures International, has signed a four-year $1 million deal to process the southern grown oil.

“NAFTA has made all this possible. Before this we would have paid duties and taxes on this type of trade and we wouldn’t have been able to compete in this market,” said Curt Heidiger, of Nuvotech, referring to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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Nuvotech processes Saskatchewan-grown borage for the American company and, say Nuvotech executives, it hopes to offer other domestic crop products to Floratech in the future.

“This type of deal leaves us open to other processing opportunities for Canadian grown products and other business opportunities with American processors,” said Don Hrytzak, of Nuvotech.

Jojoba oil products are waxes used in lipstick and skin scrubs. In different formulations they are used in skin moisturizers and other cosmetic products.

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