YAP Proposal #256: Seedlings Solutions greenhouse production (Naeen Jackson, Jamaica)

NaeenJackson

“The ‘new agriculture’ of Jamaica requires a greater level of modernisation that is led by the youth. It requires a greater level of mechanisation and an increased use of high quality inputs at the appropriate time. We have to ramp up the use of greenhouses that require less land, generate greater levels of productivity and consistency.” – Derrick Kellier, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Kingston, Jamaica.

Farmers are heavily dependent on high quality planting material to improve their yields and productivity. As a farmer, I have faced challenges in accessing quality seeds and seedlings for my 7.5-acre farm. Often, quality is compromised during growth, storage, and transportation.

Due to the challenges faced by many farmers like myself, I acquired access to a 3,040 ft. greenhouse facility with an irrigation scheme to assure my own input material. Wait – I operate my very own greenhouse? Oh yes!

Hi, I am Naeen Jackson and I am a 34-year-old young woman. I am a proud Jamaican who takes pride in contributing to the development of the Jamaican agricultural sector. Currently, I am employed as a Plant Health, Animal Health and Food Safety Systems Coordinator in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, in Kingston Jamaica. I am a Public and Environmental Health specialist by training, and I am a farmer by passion!

I am always dependent on seedlings to ensure a good plant stand for hot peppers, sweet peppers, pumpkin, and melons. I also realize that onion transplants survive much better in the environment where I farm as opposed to direct seeding. I envisioned utilizing my greenhouse to generate seedlings for my in-field activity as well as to support other farmers operating in my community.

I am part owner of a greenhouse operation called Seedlings Solutions in St. Catherine, Jamaica, where I specialise in greenhouse production of vegetable seedlings.

This operation is guided by a marketing plan and word of mouth marketing. Currently, I have 450,000 onion seedlings in production and 20,000 scotch bonnet pepper seedlings in production for farmers under contractual arrangements. I also have one acre of onions in in-field production and a half acre of okra.

There are a number of nurseries scattered across Jamaica, and there is a high demand for Scotch Bonnet and West Indian red hot peppers, as well as onion seedlings.  However, there are no nurseries in close proximity to where my greenhouse is located.

There are over 100 small and medium farmers within the same locality with over 600 acres of land. This means that the nursery will ultimately contribute to improving farmers’ livelihoods by giving them a reliable source of good quality seedlings and minimal transportation costs. This in turn will reduce their transaction costs.

I have done extensive research and have observed that the total consumption for hot pepper is 14,635 mt with 372 mt of this hot pepper being imported. Additionally, a significant amount is imported into Jamaica as pepper mash for further agro-processing and exported as value-added products.

In addition, the total consumption of onion was 10,346 mt while local production contributed only 1,088 mt or 10.5% of the country’s demand.

My country is heavily dependent on imports (89.5%), partly due to low production rates. This need for success propelled me to look at opportunities to improve my ability to increase production while offering my community the opportunity to increase their production, too. The aim is to increase the amount of greenhouses in operation to be able to expand production.

So, what’s next?

Project specifications and Justification

The greenhouse increases my ability to produce high quality seedlings that are not exposed to wind, heat, or pest and diseases. The greenhouse is already equipped with an irrigation system, which lessens the impact of climate change.

However, we are unable to work overtime due to the lack of lighting and lack of security. Also, I am seeking to improve the value of my product by establishing a quality assurance plan as I move towards getting the facility certified.

Therefore, this project aims to install a number of technologies to improving the success and sustainability of seedling productions. These technologies include a solar panel, a security system, and a quality assurance system plan.

The solar panel system will provide the energy that is required to light and run the pump systems and the camera system. The system will also increase the amount of productive greenhouse hours. The solar panel system cost is approximately USD $2,500.

The security system is necessary due to the high levels of praedial larceny (theft of agricultural produce) in Jamaica. Further, this project and the enterprise are female driven. Therefore a proper security system will aid in securing our investment and will also provide some amount of personal security for the workers. The security system cost is approximately USD $2,000.

The quality assurance system is required for the traceability of seedlings and to ensure that proper standard procedures are set and adhered to. This is also the first step in obtaining certification in a chosen food safety system such as GAP. The writing of the plan and the verification and validation process cost is approximately USD $400.

 Implementation Plan

This project will be implemented over a one-year period with the procurement and installation of the solar panel occurring in months 2-3, procurement and installation of the security system in months 6-7 and the completion of the quality control plan for submission to the Bureau of Standards for validation and verification in month 10.

Keys to success

Success will be measured by the increase in production of quality seedlings to meet market needs. Furthermore, success will be measured by the ability to diversify production into other crops to further meet market demand.

My ability to work longer hours in a more secured environment while increasing the production of seedlings will lead to overall success. Installation of a solar system will allow us to mechanize our fertigation processes in an environmentally friendly manner as the solar system will be used to operate the small pump in the greenhouse.

Thank you for this opportunity and I look forward to working with YPARD!

 

Blogpost and picture submitted by Naeen Jackson (Kingston, Jamaica) – njackson[at]agroinvest.gov.jm

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


This post is published as proposal #256 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.

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50 thoughts on “YAP Proposal #256: Seedlings Solutions greenhouse production (Naeen Jackson, Jamaica)

  1. Amazing Naeen, so proud of you. We need more people like you in society, which are trying to make a difference and also willing to help, assist and share with other farmers. Farming is also a passion of mine, it’s a great feeling seeing the product of your hard work. Keep up the good job & I wish you all the best. You have always been a hard worker and so dedicated in everything you do. Proud is an understatement !!!

  2. I’m very proud of you Naeen Jackson, it’s inspiring to see a young woman so passionate about agriculture…..more of us should really start thinking outside the box and join you! All the very best to you in your endeavours and I hope you get the support desired to propel your project!

  3. This is fantastic!! The issue of security cannot be stressed enough. Reusable energy via the Solar Panel power will be quite integral! Good stuff Naeen!

  4. Jamaica really needs more of these types of operations. We need quality planting material to support improvements in production and productivity. Good work ms. Jackson

    1. We really do need good planting material to increase our productivity and also in order to compete on a larger scale

  5. I’m particularly impressed with your level of work and your drive to improve the facility and production by use of technology. Efficiency is always key and importantly quality to which I see great emphasis is made. Wish u all the success in your undertakings and expand to support the local and international markets.

  6. Great stuff Ms Jackson! We all need to think and act in this direction so that Jamaica can benefit from greenhouse farming to supply our extensive needs in agriculture. We can do this !

  7. Words cannot describe how tremendously proud of you Naeen, I remember when this was all a concept and it has come to life. This is encouraging for other young farmers and I will assist in any way of getting the word across.

    God Bless!

  8. It is commendable that a young female has so much interest in agriculture. I look forward to the completion of this project so that we can lessen our dependency on so much imported produce.

  9. This is a great initiative in support of generating food for the country and contributing significantly to food security. This level of entrepreneurship should not only be encouraged but supported through the necessary funding mechanisms that may be available. Kudos Naeen, always reaching for the stars!
    Roxanne

  10. It’s quite inspiring to see young ladies like yourself being involved in agriculture. More of us need to start thinking outside the box and join you. I really wish you all the best in your endeavours and hope you get the support you desire to keep your project growing. People are watching, and are being inspired by you. Keep at it!!!

    1. Young Women in Agriculture for sustainable rural and agricultural development… It is the only way forward.

  11. This is really good stuff Naeen, I love it! Keep up the good work. May God bless you and increase your territory in this venture. All the best Hun 😘

  12. This a great initiative led by a extremely passionate, hard working, driven, creative, professional and patriotic young woman. There are currently great opportunities for investment in the agricultural sector in Jamaica which in turn will greatly increase productivity, provide much needed employment and encourage young entrepreneurs to stay motivated for the long haul. Naeen,I wish you all the best on your journey and may it be a sustainable one! Build Jamaica from the inside out !

  13. Great work Miss Jackson . It’s always heartwarming to see smart young women in agriculture. Your initiatives illustrate the direction agriculture should be going as we move towards lessening our dependence on imported products.

  14. Much needed initiative for our Jamaican farmers so that our sustainability for local crops is protected Good job sis !

  15. Love this idea, it’s time jamaica limits it’s dependency on importation. This sort of innovation is what our country needs in order to truly thrive.

  16. With the younger generation taking the forefront now, in terms of national progress and development, I am overjoyed to read of my own family doing her part to ensure a better Jamaica!!! Bless up Cuz

  17. Very Proud of you Naeen, Our country need more young passionate driven persons who can steer the growth of our economy in the right direction… Agriculture is a channel that if we as a country invest and focus on can be one of our major source of income. Well done!!!

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