YAP Proposal #191: Protected agriculture for organic vegetables (Mark Boneo, Trinidad and Tobago)

BoneoMark

My name is Mark Boneo and I am 19 years old. I live in the rural village of Lopinot in the country of Trinidad and Tobago. I am a Youth Ambassador (Bold Leader 2013), BSc Business Management student, food security advocate and a youth ‘Agripreneur’.

My story began at the age of 9. It was in the year 2005 and my father had just passed away. It was a devastating time as I had just lost my mentor, hero and dad.  My brother Matthew and my cousin Andy became the male figures in my life. Matthew and Andy were both into agriculture and so I spent a great deal of my time farming with them. This exposure invoked my love and passion for agriculture.

Lopinot is well known for its hillside farming because it was once among the most fertile and productive cocoa and coffee estates in Trinidad and Tobago. Unfortunately, agriculture in Lopinot has regressed, with ‘slash and burn’ being the main contributor.

Due to this harsh reality, at the age of 17 I made a personal decision to become an ambassador for food security; to promote the ideology of ‘growing what you eat and eating what you grow’. However, I knew that my discussions with others about food security were not sufficient, and so I created a mission statement.

My aim evolved into providing high quality, tasty, organic and affordable vegetables for the average Caribbean national using protected area agriculture. This was a huge vision for a 17-year-old, and it was criticized by most, but something intrinsic kept me motivated and determined to achieve this goal.

I made the bold step to acquire a low interest loan, which was used to finance the construction of a shade house in 2013. Unfortunately, T&T’s protected agriculture industry is still in the beginning phases, and as a result my primary source of information was trial and error. This proved to be pretty costly as demonstrated by my very first lesson, a lesson that I can never forget.

Due to its poor design, a powerful wind completely demolished the greenhouse structure. Can you imagine how this affected me? How difficult it was to service a loan for a shattered dream?

Surprisingly, I was still motivated to continue. Maybe it was that same intrinsic quality that caused me to create the vision in the first place. Through family support and part time ‘odd jobs’ I was able to start reconstruction, salvaging the materials that were left.

Although I didn’t use the organic method as I originally intended, I was able to cultivate my first tomato crop in the protected area. As the word about my first harvest got around, a harvest derived from a sustainable system, there was a spark of interest in the minds of the conventional farmers. As a result they were more open to discussion than they were before.

What is the project about?

BoneoMark2
Two-month-old tomato vines in the shade house.

This project will make the current protected area operation sustainable and inspiring to the farmers of Lopinot, and by extension the Caribbean region and the world. This project will not require large amounts of synthetic input. This is of paramount importance as it is necessary that the adverse effects of farming are not increased.

 

The model farm will be built on the idea of the three R’s; reduce reuse and recycle. Reduce in the application synthetic fertilizers and chemicals, Reuse plant debris as organic manure and Recycle locally available coconut husks to use as the primary growth medium.

Because organic methods will be used, a reliable pest management system will be necessary. I have started looking at processing neem to derive a pesticide and planting the marigold plant in very close proximity to the growing area so as to keep out unwanted pests.

The model farm will be opened for tours for the conventional farming population and students of the elementary school in Lopinot. This effort seeks to fuel the paradigm shift in conventional farms towards sustainability. Additionally, sustainable farming will be introduced to the children at a young age so that they know sustainable farming is both fun and feasible.

This program offers mentorship from seasoned experts that will hopefully force my teacher, ‘trial and error’ to quit his job. The funds from this grant will assist in making the current growing environment conducive to organic methods of production via structural improvements and equipment purchases.

Moreover the training will assist in the areas of market research and development, making full use of social media as marketing tool. All of these measures will allow me to conduct my current operations in a more sustainable way and enable me to be closer to my vision; healthy, natural and organic.

As an added bonus, the networks created while attending the GCARD3 global event would be beneficial in achieving the regional goal, that is to provide high quality, tasty, organic and affordable vegetables for the average Caribbean national using protected area agriculture.

How do I plan to use the USD $5,000 grant?

First disbursement:
Cultivation of neem trees and marigold plants – $350
RH, pH, EC testing equipment – $450
Acquiring and processing natural growing medium – $860

Second disbursement
Drainage and structural improvements – $1,665

Third disbursement
Post-harvest facility and materials – $1,000
Marketing and distribution – $665

‘Grow what you eat and eat what you grow’
Blogpost and picture submitted by Mark Boneo (Lopinot, Trinidad and Tobago) – markboneo[at]hotmail.com

The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.


This post is published as proposal #191 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

The first selection of the winners will be based on the number of comments, likes and views each proposal gets.

As a reader, you can support this speaker’s entry:

  • Leave a comment (question, suggestion,..) on this project in the comment field at the bottom of this page
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Have a look at the other “YAP” proposals too!
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“YAP” is part of the #GCARD3 process, the third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development.


277 thoughts on “YAP Proposal #191: Protected agriculture for organic vegetables (Mark Boneo, Trinidad and Tobago)

  1. What amazing experience and passion you have mark. I cant believe you actually start all of that since you are 17, and you only 1 year younger than me! What an amazing thing….

    Actually i also move in providing organic nutrition for plant and animal so somehow i know about organic farm. What i want to ask is whats your real different from the other organic farm? Since i’ve seen so much organic farm providing education for society and they absolutely reduce the chemical usage up to zero by applying zero wastewaste.

    Is it possible to send your answer to my mail? I would be happy to know your project better.

    Best
    Fitriani saputra
    Vivi.naru@yahoo.com

    1. Excellent worK young man….it is my hope that others like yourself see and read this article and become driven and empowered to step out! God bless you, keep pushing forward.

    2. Very touching story young man.. Keep up the great work and in what u are doing.. Stay positive and keep pushing.
      May god continue to shower his blessings upon u so that you may continue to make you dad proud off u.

      Jenelle C

    3. When I saw the work that Mark is doing I was amazed that this young man have so much passion about the work he is doing I agriculture. This is what the world needs men with visions to make it better for food production. Keep up the great work.

  2. I am so impress with you. I am proud of you. I support you 100%. Your dad would be proud of you. Good luck. You know you can always count on me

  3. Happy to see another project from home! And an excellent one at that. Your passion clear shows from your story. I wish you the best of luck in the competition!!!

  4. You have my support. I am very proud of you as I have seen first hand however you persevered to produce your crop of tomatoes. They tasted juicy,sweet and pure. Well done and continue working for food security.

  5. Good work. Your organic produce will be a valuable source for those of us interested in alternative medicine.

  6. Hi Mark we are indeed proud of you from the Lopinot La Pastora Community Council and the Lopinot La Pastora Cocoa, coffee and short Crop Association. Well done as your continue on your journey on!

  7. I admire his work as a teenager.
    Mark is a teenager with a big vision.
    I listen to him speak and his FB posts and it motivates me as a youth as well.
    I love what he does and it’s a great opportunity for him to reach out to youths across the globe with his big ideas and project he’s doing.

    1. Hey Ruji, I could remember seeing an Aquaponics system for the first time at the Bold Leaders Program in 2013,..,,,,,,, That experience had a massive impact on my outlook and paradigm>>>>> Ruji thank you for the support all the way from both Thailand and Colorado!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Impressive proposal. I am certain this project would be beneficial to the Lopinot community, Trinidad and Tobago and the region. Your interest in food security using sustainable practices and approaches would contribute to the development of the nation

      1. I welcome that idea. We can merge your agriculture and business background and my engineering to create a strong team. #excited.

        Not certain if it’s included in the proposal but once the project is established you can encourage the hotel and local restaurants to use your produce.

        I believe the aim to make organic produce accessible to the local household is a worthy cause. This project requires a lot of work but once managed well the economic rewards and benefits to the nation are endless.

      2. Mildred, your perspective towards sustainability coupled with your care for others have shaped you into an amazing person. Yes! We would make an awesome team.
        That you for suggesting the hotel and local restaurants as potential customers.
        I remember you asking, how it is that one segment of our global society are allowed to eat healthy? This is something that I am also very concerned about!
        We are on the same page, with the same mission….

        Let’s do this!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Waaw! I think we need a lot more of things like these going on. This what you have done is very important for our survival. Well done Mark, keep it up , i hope you can encourage others to be like you !

  10. U go Mark!!! The sky is the limit!
    I know that you are tremendously passionate about this endeavour…no doubt that you will be successful!!!
    I look forward to the provision of high quality, affordable,organic vegatables for the average Caribbean national, in the near future👍👍👍

  11. What an inspiring article. Agriculture is a great avenue for generating wealth and giving back to society both in alleviating poverty and empowering fellow youths.

  12. It indeed makes a statement when one is inspired by another’s hard work and determination. Your work has been, is and will be having a great impact on the people around you and with continued support and necessary investments by others, I know you will change people’s view on farming not only in Lopinot but on a much wider scale – Globally.

    1. Thank you Caramel150. Initially I was a little reluctant to tell my classmates that I am a farmer because of the stereotype associated with farming. When I eventually did, they were actually very supportive and inquisitive about my operations….

  13. What you have done is extraordinary. Your work has shown that you are a determined young man who keeps pushing hard towards success. Continue to keep up the good work and all the best.

    1. Hey Janelle, thank you for supporting……… Maybe we can apply some of the organizational behavior theory that we are learning right not to a mega farm project in the future……..

      Thank you

  14. This is certainly an amazing initiative and this sort of mindset would help build our country’s sustainability and reduce our dependence on imported food. Grow local and eat local. Good luck!

  15. I am very proud of you and your initiatives especially as we are in a recession. This is a good alternative to a high food import bill

    Good luck Mark

    1. Thank you Tash!!!!!!!!!!! you have been there through it all…… you have supported every way possible and I thank you for that……. #bigsis#businesspartner#mentor

  16. Mark! Extremely well written blog man, I’m glad to be able to follow what you’re up to. I remember you telling me about wanting to get into aquaponics and agriculture when you stayed with us a few years ago. I think it’s so brilliant to see not only that you have followed through but that you’ve done so with such tactics and entrepreneurialship.

    I have plans to make a film in Trinidad/Tobago in the coming years and would love to visit you!! Me and my family are well, I hope you all are as well!

    1. Hey Evan you have been and inspiration to me from day 1. Where in the world a 15 year old produces his very own short movie? I guess in Colorado…….. Troy, Carol, Tessa and you Evan are more than my 2013 host family, more than my friends even,.,,,,,, you guys are my FAMILY!!!!!!!!
      Evan you are welcome to T&T anytime you’re ready…….. #hopeitssoon

      ps… I will have to work on some acting skills

      Please share this blog with everyone…..

      Take care Evan

  17. Hats off to you Markie. I know you have set your goals and will achieve with great success. I am very proud of you my son. Looking forward to start our project soon. I will continue to support you. I love you and may God continue to bless you and use you as an example for the youths of our community and country.

      1. With you being a farmer at a very young age and pursuing tertiary education, I hope this would encourage youths to take initiative and make a positive difference in their lives, community and country.

  18. So glad you are addressing organic food and reuse! Good for you. I’ve only seen Lopinot once and it was breathtaking! Will you be working on any cocoa trees? Im originally from Tdad but in the US now. I’ll be following.

    1. Thank you….. Lopinot is still a very beautiful place.
      I have been around many cocoa operations here in Lopinot, but there are still many issues facing production with the unavailability of labor being on top of the list…….. With regards to Cocoa production, who knows, maybe in the future I can start researching ways to make cocoa production less labor intensive, while keep it a sustainable system……….

  19. Keep up the good work and continue to be that inspiration,mentor and motivation for our youths…I am very proud of you and have no doubt in you excelling further and achieving your goals…continue to do what you are doing and all the best…

    1. Hello, thank you for supporting…

      I actually use a drip irrigation system that is controlled by an electric timer. This makes it very efficient and easy to water and fertilize the plants ………..

  20. It is great to see you working on…….. what many seem to forget that food security is the only way we as a society can move forward towards developed country status. As a nation if we are unable to feed ourselves and have to import the majority of our food we will constantly be faced with the recession that we are currently in. It is inspirational to see that you are able to teach others within your community about what you have learnt moving forward it would nice to see your lessons learnt be passed on to future generations.

  21. Great job Mark. It’s always amazing to see a young person with such ambition towards agriculture. You are setting a great example. Keep up the good work as determination today leads to success tomorrow.

    1. Thank you Brandon….. Making a compost heap is a great suggestion,.,,,,,,, I plan on using the pruned tomato leaves as the input for the compost heap so that we derive 0 wastage within the growing area……..

      Thank you for the suggestion…..

    1. Hello Jessica! how are you? I hope all is well!
      Tomato vines are self-pollinated. This means that the pollen contains both the male and female parts. In the open field pollination of tomatoes occurs naturally, both via the wind and insects.
      Due to the fact that my structure is not blocked around with any insect netting, pollination also occurs naturally, both via the wind and insects.

      However, if the entire structure was enclosing, insects are unable to enter and the strength of the wind is significantly reduced. Therefore the greenhouse operator would have to conduct artificial pollination using an electric tool called a pollinator…..

      Thank you!

      1. Hmm very interesting stuff. So are you going to enclose your structure or leave as is to allow natural pollination?

      2. Hello Jessica, in organic farming, the first line of defense in pest managements is done through exclusion and so it is imperative that the structure is enclose. However this must be done in a proper way. While the concepts are the same for greenhouse farming, the objectives are sometimes different. In Temperate countries the major goal is to keep as much heat as possible present within the structure. However with T&T being a tropical country heat buildup is a major challenge. Therefore although we would like to keep all pest out of the structure we must mindful of the heat related challenges

  22. Your story has reminded me of the struggles I faced as a young man trying to build a company from scratch. Thankfully i’m successful now and I think your going to have the same fate. All the best.

  23. All the best Mark!…It was quite a knowledgeable read. I knew you were bound to expand on the hobby when you kept my water test kit a bit longer than desired…hahahah! 🙂

  24. I am sp proud of you. You have come a long way and still continue to strive and reaching for the stars… Keep on being that mentor and inspiration for the youths of our community and by extention the country and world… Keep going at it and achieving your goals.. All the best and God bless

    1. Thank you Karen. I remember the when Michelle and you helped me to transplant the seedlings in the greenhouse while making a promotional video for the Guyana trip….. lol thank you … #funtimes

  25. Mark I encourage the resilience you have shown. People will always buy organic food so the sky is the limit.

  26. Love your plans for the model farm that will be built on the idea of the three R’s; reduce reuse and recycle. Good luck in this future venture!

    1. Thank you Kristyn………. I think the three R’s are very important to T&T now more than ever due to our current waste disposal situation,,,,,,

      Thank u!

  27. More people should be encouraged to pursue agriculture as it is an important part of our own growth. Great work continue to inspire the people around you

  28. Great job Mark.
    I am proud of your achievement.
    Continue working hard because “hard work has its reward.

  29. It’s very promising to see something like this. This looks really promising! People just need the pushin the right direction and you seem very able to do that! Good luck!

  30. Great as always Mark, I knew you would end up doing great things. I have a few questions however :
    Did you figure out the original cause of the collapse of the shade hoyse and what steps did you take to prevent it from happening again?
    What other crops would you suggest be grown with that method?
    Could this possibly be expanded into other areas?
    What can we, the public, do in the meantime to assist this endeavor?
    Trinidad and Tobago is surely in need of sustainable farming, and I’m glad I got to know someone taking the initiative to face it.

    1. Thank you Keanu!

      1. The cause was due primarily to a poor design. However another major issue that i faced was the poor quality workmanship. To prevent this from happening again, I purchased a blueprint that was created by a professional. Additionally a reputable contractor was given the job.

      2. Almost any crop can be grown under a protected area, ranging from lettuces to cucumbers. However to ensure zero wastage and high success, one must first determine what exactly does the consumer want. This would include the evaluation of parameters such as type, size, shape and color.

      3. Most definitely! The concepts used in protected area farming remains the same no matter where you go. We know what are the elements that plants require to derive high yields (sufficiency ranges). Therefore the protected area structure simply manipulates the current environment to create on the is suitable or conducive for production.

      4. As a rule of thumb, supply always follows demand. As consumers, if we demand product X, the suppliers will make every effort to make product X readily available to you. As consumers we also have the power not to demand as well.
      What can the public do in the mean time? I would say the public should make every effort to demand sustainable, healthy, and local. This would automatically send a message to suppliers that we as consumers are no longer willing to accept unsustainability and potentially harmful foods…..

      I hope that i have answered you questions….

      Thank you bro!

  31. It is an amazing project that you are pursuing as it relates to food security. I admire this and applaud the use of three Rs to ensure sustainability. II support your idea and I do hope you succeed with this plan. You can be a role model to the younger ones to help them learn the importance of agriculture and how to promote it.All the best Mark I look forward to hearing great things. All the best

  32. Wow so young and motivated with such a big Vision. I am impressed. Many youths are not driven and inpired like you are. I pray many will take a page from your book to be better and to impact their generation positively. Congratulations and all God’s Blessings.

  33. Very impressive and well thought out. I wasn’t thinking of anything as grand as this at the age of 17 and yet you thought of all this, planned it out, went for it, faced hardship, and went for it again. Best of luck!

  34. So good to see a young lad like yourself making such such great strides…agriculture is nw beginning to get the attention it needed…great job..keep it up…i look forward to hearing more about you and your agro initiatives in the future

  35. Congratulations Mark. You show great strength against adversity and you will prevail!
    A great idea using protected farming. I don’t know much about this system but I’ll definitely investigate and try it for my backyard plot. Thanks and Google luck.

    Clinton Ross

  36. Amazing!i am a farmer in MAryland in the United States using similar practices with a similar praxis …i am very proud of your work and want to support however possible! #foodsovereignty

  37. Mark you are an inspiration to many. Continue setting your goals and achieving great success in all your endeavors. This is taking Agriculture to another and higher level. God’s blessing. I’m very proud of you.

  38. I commend your hard work mark… this is truly inspiring, especially taking into consideration how young you are and you are fully aware of the issues we face today with food security, and you also practice good farming methods. With regards to ipm, you can also use mint plants… they drive away pests as well… keep up the good work.. I know u will motivate a lot more youths… 🙂

  39. Great stuff Mark.
    As a fellow ‘Agripreneur’ have are you going to test other organic pest control methods such as Garlic and Neem?

    1. Hello Bruce, thank you for the support. A pest management system is always a work in progress and requires continuous improvement. To derive a formula that works for me i would apply the different organic pesticides and monitor the pest levels.

      Thank you Bruce Lee

  40. “To succeed, one must have ambition & resilience. ” Mark Boneo. Live your quote buddy & make sure you influence your peers. You have to follow through on whatever actions that are planned. We also need some Youtube videos of the plan. Cheers!!!

  41. This is a fantastic initiative and much needed in Trinidad and Tobago and in the Caribbean. Feeling inspired by the fact that you have a dream and you’re pushing to make it come true. I wish you all the success in the world! 🙂 Very proud of you!

  42. Great job Mark.Your story is great and your vision is greater young man. I am proud keep up the good work. ‘ Grow what you eat, and eat what you grow’

  43. This is excellent stuff Mark. I pray continue success to you in Jesus’ name. I just love your passion for agriculture and you have my full support for this project and the many others to come.

  44. Good job Mark. Remember that you are a leader…so there will be folks that are following you. Stay on the path and they will follow. You are a great incentive, for me also. God bless.

  45. This is a wonderful project, Mark. I am touched by your passion and dedication to making such a difference in your community and the world. Not only will you be providing valuable resources, but the engagement of the community, especially the young children, will have a great impact on the sustainability of this endeavor. Thank you for sharing about your father. I am sorry for your loss. You are a great honor to his memory. I wish you much growth and success with this project and in your future.

  46. Our country needs initiatives like this, particularly in these recessionary times. It is awesome to see you, as a youth, seeking to have such a positive impact on your society. I will be sharing this story with my Geography students at Vessigny Secondary. Please send us a notification when you are ready to accept field trips and we will be sure to visit your farm.

      1. We are in South, close to the La Brea Pitch Lake. I will email you soon. I should also tell you that I have shared your submission with my news groups. After seeing so many terrible reports about youths recently, yours is refreshingly positive and deserves to go viral.

  47. Excellent job Mark, you continue to be an exemplar in your community. We are all so very proud of you. Continue to fly our flag high. There are so many young people in the community; do you have any future plans for exposing them to some of the skills and knowledge that you have acquired? Hope you do.

    1. As aforementioned in my blog, the model farm would be opened to the farmers and children in the village. However I also have plans to host a series of workshops with food security and youth entrepreneurship being the main focus.
      I have already started talks with some of the key stakeholders such as the Minister for Lopinot/ Bon Air West, Mr. Frank Ali, an executive from the Agricultural society of Trinidad & Tobago (ASTT) and the a Manager at the Agricultural Development Bank.
      On the contrary, the training offer by the GFAR is of the highest quality and done by leading experts in the industry. Therefore being a participant of this program would allow us as a community to have valuable insight into cutting edge technology and processes that can potentially lead to something extraordinary in Trinidad and Tobago and the region by extension.
      Thank you!

  48. Keep up The good work mark ..your vision an your story is truely inspiring …really hope you win an best of luck in all your endeavours

  49. Really great work. We as a country need to be more sustainable. I’m in pressed at your choice of using marigolds for pest management.

    Also have you thought about the use of hydroponics?

  50. Hey thank you!!!!

    I do use hydroponics, however its not in the form of a closed system with the growing media being water. Instead its a opened system, using injectors, drip emitters and timer.

    I hope i have answered your question. If you do not fully understand, feel free to ask your questions

    Thank you
    Mark Boneo

  51. Dear Mark,
    You have 100% of our support! We have already purchased tomatoes from you and we are always looking for farmers producing organic produce to include in our network of suppliers for Cafe Mariposa.

    Our dream is to source 100% organic food from the Lopinot valley for our cafe, to give a truly local experience to our guests, reducing food miles. The intention is also to demonstrate to everyone that we can eat fresh, healthy food from our local regions supporting our farmers, building self sustainable communities.

    Mark just reach for the stars, we are behind you.

    1. This project is about 80% complete leaving very little to be done. With a marginal amount of capital injection, production can begin in as soon as 2-3 months, however the produce will not be organic. While I agree that funding is required, to align myself with the strategic goal of organic, training in organic production would be of much more importance.

      Once this training is acquired, backed by capital, the estimated starting time would anywhere between 5-6 months.

      Thank you MB

  52. Very good initiative. You spoke of the three Rs for the development of your project. Also important for any successful outcome is the three Es: educate, engage and empower. It is always crucial to educate the public on the growing need for us to have a strong agricultural sector in this country and not be so strongly dependent on foreign imports, especially in these dismal economic times. Not only should you educate on the social and financial benefits but also the health benefits of growing out on goods and encouraging a healthy lifestyle. Secondly, engaging different societal groups is key to getting this project to be widespread. Get out there in different communities and speak to the different age groups and classes to find out how to make our local goods more accessible, affordable and pleasing for local consumption. Lastly, via discussions, you obtain the recommendations and suggestions and grow the project.

  53. The work is fantastic.What kind of labour force do you need to maintain this high level of production…. I am impressed by your vision and commitment.

    1. Hello Steve, thank you for the support. I think you’re asking what kind of labor force I would need to achieve the regional goal. Well Steve this could vary considerably, but what I can tell you is that in the next eight years I would hope to have 20 acres of greenhouses which would create quite a lot of employment. This type of operation would require varying skillsets, from process engineers to the greenhouse technicians. As to the number of employees, a rather prudent estimation is 200 employees.

      Thank you!

  54. Mark’s innovation and determination has impressed me tremendously. He is head strong and has clear goals. He has a planned course of action inorder to achieve them. Mark does not let disappointment keep him down. I remember when high winds had blown down his structure; he did not give up. You are an inspiration for youths. You know what you want and you going after it. You have my support.

  55. You are young and it is good to be an idealist at this time. I wish you every success because the goals are worthy. I know nothing about agriculture so I cannot offer any advice, actually I am not too good when it comes to plants, but still I wish you every success.

  56. Good read Mark, to see a youth like you take such initiatives toward food security is inspiring, you def have my support.

  57. Good read Mark, to see the youth take such initiatives toward food security is inspiring, you have my support

  58. Giving more support to this absolutely great idea, this idea is so accurate in this time. Keep up the good work and i hope everyone comes to know what you are doing.

  59. An excellent example of sustainable agriculture, not only does it promote food security but recognizes that any activity from industrial to agricultural must take into account the impact such has on the environment. I really like the idea of an integrated pest management system instead of the traditional use of pesticides. The educational aspect of the initiative of the program should also be commended.

  60. Hello everyone, I am beyond thankful for the overwhelming support given to me in this endeavor. It was a long but exciting journey for me over the past 7 days. I would also like to take the opportunity to also apologize for spamming your walls and inboxes with a ton of information. Voting is now officially closed and we were able to get 67 likes and 271 comments.
    What’s next for Mark? Whether I am able to participate in the YAP program or not, I can assure you that I will continue to pursue my dream and passion for a food secure country, region and world.
    I thank you and I thank you!

    Cheers,
    Mark Boneo
    Agripreneur, Food Security Ambassador and Youth Ambassador (Bold Leaders 2013).

  61. I think its a great and much needed initiative and therefore wish you good success in all your endeavors towards your ultimate goal God bless

  62. Fascinating Story Mark. with so much emphasis on GMO agriculture, if is refreshing to see such a young spirit taking on the bull by the horn. FULL SUPPORT HERE!

  63. Congratulations on your project, which we learned of from Matthew. It’s great to see how well you have accepted your limitations, learned from your previous failures and are doing what you require to succeed. Organic farming offer great opportunities and your agri-business training should provide this information for you to be prepared for eventual certification of your farm. Your use of neem and marigold is an excellent move, as they are good natural pesticides, and is allowed for organic farming. Maybe you can consider others plants for pest control, since consumers generally view their use as healthier and are prepared to pay more for such produce. Hopefully we can visit your farm and share some more thoughts with you.

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