JIS News

Young Manchester farmer, Nicholas Powell, has received a sponsorship package from Newport-Fersan Jamaica Limited, which will help to boost productivity of his farm in Coffee Grove in the parish.
The package includes a monthly stipend to assist with farming and other key expenses, fertiliser, pesticide, and agricultural equipment.
The young farmer, who is a 2009 recipient of the Governor-General’s Youth Award for Excellence, will also benefit from comprehensive soil and leaf testing, access to greenhouse technology, and technical assistance.
At the handing over ceremony on Thursday (March 11) at the Coffee Grove Church of God, Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, commended the local fertiliser manufacturing company for assisting Mr. Powell. “I believe that the items of agricultural products and services that you offer will contribute to improving his output and will also motivate him to work harder,” he stated.
He noted that the young farmer, who employs eight persons and utilises modern techniques to boost production, has served as an inspiration for others in the sector.
“Nicholas has transformed the way by leading with his farming. I believe there are others, young and old, who will be inspired by his approach. With more individuals like Nicholas involved in farming, the future the sector is secured,” the Governor-General stated.
Administrative Manager at Newport-Fersan Jamaica Limited, Mr. Dennis Valdez, while not revealing the value of the sponsorship package, explained that the company decided to honour Mr. Powell “for this commitment to agriculture at a time when our young men and women in Jamaica often turn away from the soil”.
He added that Mr. Powell has demonstrated that “when farming is done efficiently and with the use of modern science and best practices, agriculture is good business”.
On a tour of Mr. Powell’s farm in Coffee Crove, where he cultivates cash crops such as tomato, cabbage, cucumber, carrot and sweet potato, evidence of his modern and business-like approach to farming can be seen in the abundance of his crops, which are not only thriving but are also disease-free.
Mr. Powell told JIS News that he has been employing the latest approaches to his farming practices, including the use of hybrid seeds.
“With the hybrid seeds, I escape diseases. I get the seeds in the farm store for $4,600 per thousand. A lot of farmers say that it sounds expensive but trust me when you plant it you really see a when you do the math, you see that it’s worth it and the reaping period is much longer,” he said.
He informed that other farmers, having seen his output, are also gravitating towards hybrid seeds. “Farmers like what they see, so they call me and ask me what type of seed and I help them source the seeds and the seedling trays,” he said.
Mr. Powell said that his major challenge is to protect his crops during the hurricane season and “that is why I am looking at the hurricane-proof greenhouse”.
Utilising his agricultural knowledge with his training in electrical engineering from the University of Technology (UTech), he intends to manufacture the computerised greenhouse for the local market.
“I want to come in and mix the whole technology that I have gained from going to university and the knowledge that I have gained from farming; that is where I want to go,” he told JIS News.
In addition to positively impacting his community through farming,
Mr. Powell has put on fundraising activities through which four computers have been purchased to benefit young people in the community; has contributed to the upgrading of sanitary facilities at the Coffee Grove Basic School; and provides educational assistance for students.

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