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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The 27-year-old farmer , who hails from Mount Pleasant, in Manchester, has been involved in the sector from an early age and has won several awards.
  • The young entrepreneur plans to enter into international markets, but having done his research, he admits it will be challenging.
  • The UTech graduate is imploring young people with ideas for the agricultural or other sectors, to push ahead and achieve their goals.

The 2010 recipient of the prestigious Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Excellence in Agriculture, Nicholas Powell, continues to blaze a trail in the sector.

Mr. Powell manages several green houses and has recently increased his acreage to produce yam, sweet potato and cocoa.

The 27-year-old farmer , who hails from Mount Pleasant, in Manchester, has been involved in the sector from an early age and has won several other awards,  including the Jamaica Agricultural Society’s (JAS) National Young Champion Farmer for three consecutive years,  from 2010 to 2012; and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) award in 2012.

“I have continued to be active in agricultural production and I have expanded since 2010.  I now have a 4800 sq. ft. greenhouse, and my farm has increased to some 27 acres.  I am also doing new crops, such as ginger, and a lot more yam, cocoa and lettuce,” he tells JIS News.

The young entrepreneur plans to enter into international markets, but having done his research, he admits it will be challenging.

“I’m really looking to expand as it relates to the overseas market…that’s something I want to tap into in the near future. But you know with overseas, you have to deal with your broker’s licence to get into the market over there,” Mr. Powell says.

“It’s a whole new ball game. When you’re talking about overseas, you have to have the right amount, so hopefully in the next couple of years, I can expand my production significantly where I can tap into the overseas market,” he adds.

Mr. Powell, who in 2008 successfully completed a course in Tissue Culture, and was awarded a Certificate from the Christiana Potato Growers Cooperative Association, hopes to incorporate this method at his farm in the future.

Tissue culture uses numerous techniques to grow and maintain plant tissues, cells and organs in a sterile and controlled environment, usually in a laboratory. He points out that tissue culture produces disease free plants, which can result in greater yields in production, among other benefits.

“In moving agriculture forward, it [tissue culture] is something I would want to get involved in when I’ve established myself enough and have enough capital to take on such a venture,” Mr. Powell says.

An avid supporter of community activities, he continues to make commendable strides in assisting other people. Mr. Powell, who works from nine different locations, has created employment for 20 persons to assist him with production and management.

The Electrical Engineering graduate from the University of Technology (UTech) is imploring young people with ideas for the agricultural or other sectors, to push ahead and achieve their goals.

“Whenever you stop fighting, you fail to exist. People can’t really stop you in life; they can only slow you down. Always look forward, not looking down,” he advises.

Mr. Powell commends the organizers of the Prime Minister’s Award, noting that it is the highest award for young persons under 24 years old.