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Project Background

Paul Watson decided to pursue farming as a business, to capitalize on the excellent opportunities that exist in agriculture today. Based on the information coming out of the ministry and the capacity of the land he settled on producing marketable volumes of onions for the local markets. He has a strong background in business and sought to engage the property in an efficient and profitable venture. He possesses a bachelor’s degree in management from the University of Phoenix and holds many other certifications which are transferable to the implementation and management of the farming business. He is also registered farmer with RADA.


Project Summary
The Project involves the production of 6 hectares (15 acres) of onions over two cropping cycles aimed at satisfying local demand under the Production and Productivity Project (PPP) spearheaded by the Ministry of Agriculture. The Project is being implemented on 16.18 hectares (40 acres) of land in Luana, St. Elizabeth. The land was assessed by technical individuals at RADA and they concluded that it was suitable for onion production. In addition to the implementation of the crop, the Project made provisions for the procurement for tools and equipment, farm works and building and structures.  

The Role of the Agro-Invest
The Agro Invest is the business facilitation arm of the Ministry and has overall responsibility for investment promotion and facilitation, property management, project and market development.  The Agro-Invest through its Project Development Department (PDD) converted Mr. Watson’s business idea to a bankable sustainable project.


Results of the intervention

  • Loan Approval: July 2010
  • Disbursement: August 2010 J$4.8M
  • Works done:
    • Land clearing and land preparation
    • Establishment of 6 hectares (15 acres) of onion
    • Fencing
  • Equipment procured:
    • Mist Blower
    • 5 gall Knapsack Sprayer
    • Bush Wacker 220
    • Irrigation System (drip)
    • 2007 Isuzu I290 Pickup (Extended Cab)
    • Diesel Pump Set , Pipes and Fittings
    • 1000 Gal water Tanks
    • Small tools and Machines
  • Employment:
    • Based on the BP: 1 Farm manager and 2 temporary workers
    • Actual: 1 Farm manager, 2 permanent workers


Current stage

  • 6 hectares (15 acres) cleared and prepared
  • 4 hectares (10 acres) under production (watermelon, honey dew, cantaloupe, sweet pepper, sorrel and tomato)
  • Irrigation system, pumps, pipes and other small tools and equipment procured
  • Motor vehicle procured
  • Property fenced
  • Produce is being sold to agro-buyers who come into the community and he has made linkages with. On average water melon is sold for J$50/lb and honey dew and cantaloupe for J$80/lb.


Success of markets
The market contract was confirmed. However due to not being able to acquire the necessary chemicals for the onion crop, he was advised by RADA to abandon the crop and wait for the January/February planting cycle. As such, he has diversified and planted in total 4 hectares (10 acres) of cantaloupe, honey dew, watermelon, tomatoes, sweet pepper and sorrel. Water melon, honey dew and cantaloupe are the main crops totalling 1.61 hectares (4 acres); with watermelon covering 0.80 hectares (2 acres) and honey dew and cantaloupe covering the remaining 0.80 hectares (2 acres). He is willing to go back into onion but cannot get the Gold 2XL chemical needed and is unsure as what his true options are. He was referred to Mr. Byron Henry of RADA who gave him recommendations regarding chemical options to deal with the problem and he will be doing this for the coming crop. He is currently selling his crops to agro-buyers who supply the hotel market.


Based on the diversification programme that the investor placed the farm is on, he is able to service his loan, and meet his operating expenses. He has been able to realize comfortable revenues.


Based on correspondences with RADA, it is recommended that Mr. Watson goes back into onion production for the next cycle as well as possibly expand his current production since he has available to him 16.18 hectares (40 acres) of land.

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