GFAR blog

YAP Proposal #353: Frost your kale and heat it too! (Kareem Payne, Barbados)


A year ago, if you’d asked me about a greenhouse, my mind would have probably meandered down a long, dark and twisted road before finally arriving at a dead end where I would find a facility, more than likely in the color green where people conducted experiments on greenhouse gases.

Okay, so maybe not, but the reality is, a mere twelve months ago I was not 100% sure of what is a greenhouse, what they can be used for and the great green benefits they can provide.

Sure, by this declaration it is safe to presume that I am by no means an expert in greenhouse technology, let alone an agricultural guru. So why am I writing this article to gain the opportunity to be a part of the spectacular showcase in Johannesburg you may ask?

Well, for a couple reasons. Firstly, I’m a lot more proficient in writing than I am in agriculture and secondly, I am an enterprising entrepreneur seeking to address many of the agricultural problems plaguing Barbados and the Caribbean region.

My name is Kareem Payne, a twenty-eight year old Trinidadian national, residing in Barbados. I have worked in a variety of sectors throughout the Caribbean and in the United States of America, before obtaining the opportunity to work for the Ministry of Agriculture in Barbados.

My experience at the Ministry of Agriculture thus far has been truly amazing. After all, I now know of a greenhouse and its capabilities. By working in agriculture, I have witnessed firsthand the immense potential and power of agriculture as a science, and as a mechanism and vehicle to rid many small-island developing states of many of the obstacles which impede their progress.

In the Caribbean, many governments focus on tourism and manufacturing while the agricultural sector continues to flounder and descend further into an abyss. Moreover, food security, unemployment – especially among youth – climate change, obesity and non-communicable diseases continue to be major challenges throughout the Caribbean region.

You do not need to be a brain surgeon to illustrate the role agriculture can play in curtailing some of these issues. Agriculture is a necessary and vital cog in the bid to create sustainable states, and we must embrace it now.

My mission is simple, and it is geared towards reducing the local food import bill, reducing the risk of non-communicable diseases which can be attributed to unhealthy diets and by turning trash into cash.

One of the components of my project will also involve heightening the level of awareness among young people about the myriad opportunities in agriculture. As a Goodwill Ambassador of Peace, I will also do my utmost to ensure that a portion of my profits will go towards the development of budding agri-preneurs and agricultural community projects.

My project therefore consists of several phases which I will now describe.

Phase 1 – Trash to Cash

KareemPayneAs a health conscious individual I often patronize shops and businesses that sell all natural smoothies and juices. I noticed however that all of the seeds, skins and unwanted parts of the fruits and vegetables are disposed of in garbage bins – and this is where I intend to step in.

I will gladly accept organic waste for the purposes of making compost and fertilizers for sale and also for phase 2 of my project. I intend to utilize organic practices throughout my project to complement the notion of healthier living and the reduction of particular non-communicable diseases.

Phase 2 – Operation Greenhouse

This phase of my project will focus on greenhouse production of predominantly atypical Caribbean crops. Many burgeoning farmers focus on traditional crops/vegetables that typically grow in 4-6 weeks, such lettuce. However, I intend to remove the box and focus on non-traditional crops and crops that flourish in temperate climates such as berries and kale. Yup… kale.

The beauty of greenhouses in my estimation lies in the ability to create microclimates. With the use of renewable energy, research and of course, someone who knows what he/she is doing, one is able to change the temperature in a greenhouse in a jiffy to suit the preference of the crop.

Where possible I will utilize compost and fertilizers from phase 1, but of course this will be dependent on the soil and nutrient requirements. The produce from my greenhouses will be sold to anyone interested in buying high-quality crops – which is everyone! – and some of it will also be used for phase 3 of my project. Yes… there is a phase 3.

Phase 3 however, is more likely to be established after phases 1 and 2 gets going and without getting into an in depth elaboration, phase 3 will involve the establishment of a health café/restaurant which will utilize produce from phase 2. Fun times definitely lie ahead.

I am highly motivated by the opportunity to make a difference. As I indicated above, embedded in my project is the concept of raising awareness of the possibilities in agriculture and the development of agri-preneurs and agricultural community projects.

My project is anticipated to make my country better, one community at a time. I’d therefore like to think of my project as a win-win-win: I win by creating profits, I contribute to the development of my community and by extension my country and I also get great satisfaction by positively influencing and impacting the lives of the youth of my country.

To achieve my objectives, I intend to focus on a simple, but tried and tested philosophy: hard work. If successful, the grant provided will be mainly used to assist with the procurement of raw materials and capital. However, I will continue to explore all options and avenues, including crowdfunding, grants, fund-raising projects and family members to make my project a reality and a success.

I know wholeheartedly, that hard work, persistence and a little bit of luck is all that is necessary for this project to succeed. I have already done some research on greenhouses, the type of crops I will like to grow and the possibility of utilizing local and recyclable materials to construct the greenhouses. I also made contact with some organizations to assist with phase 1 of my project.

After two years of operation, I expect to have a minimum of 3 greenhouses, a minimum of 3 employees, and a profitable business which has contributed to the development of the community/communities in which it serves through the betterment of its people.

I will utilize the US$5000 grant as follows:

Research – USD $500
Procurement of Greenhouse Equipment – USD $2500
Labor and Professional Services – USD $1000
Seeds and other raw materials – USD $500
Procurement of other equipment and other miscellaneous costs – USD $500

Thank you for reading and I hope to see you in Johannesburg!!!!


Blogpost and picture submitted by Kareem Payne (Barbados) – kareempayne11[at]

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

This post is published as proposal #353 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
  • Support the post by clicking the “Like” button below (only possible for those with a account)
  • Spread this post via your social media channels, using the hashtag: #GCARD3


Have a look at the other “YAP” proposals too!
As a donor, support young agripreneurs and sponsor this unique project. Check out the side column for our current sponsors.
“YAP” is part of the #GCARD3 process, the third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development.

77 thoughts on “YAP Proposal #353: Frost your kale and heat it too! (Kareem Payne, Barbados)”

  1. I read nothing but pure brilliance and innovation.
    I see, smell and can touch the win win win in this project.
    A much needed innitiative for All Caribbean countries, this will truly inspire youths as well especially those who are unemployed as a shows a simple yet effective model of turning obstacle to opportunity and turning trash to cash.
    Kudos to this brilliant marvelous idea
    Congratulations. Well thought out phases as well.

    1. Thank you Alpha. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of demonstrating ingenious ways to get young people in our region involved in agriculture. As leaders we must make the difference and not follow the trail, but create new pathways. At its core, my project shares some of the objectives found in your submission and I look forward to making a difference in our region with you and our fellow Young Caribbean Leaders.

    1. Thank you. I am indeed confident that once executed, my project will positively impact our region…. one community at a time.

  2. Agriculture is the vehicle we must use to move our Caribbean islands out of poverty and towards becoming sustainable states. We in the Caribbean must fully embrace protected agriculture (greenhouses, shade houses, tropical houses and other forms of protected agriculture) to assist us to realize our vision.

  3. Very well written blog post.I like the fact that you are incoporating many sustainable facets in this project and it will have a positive affect in many areas.
    Looking forward to seeing this project brought to fruition.

    1. One of the most famous definitions of sustainability describe sustainability as the ability to provide for the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. My project is grounded within this principle. I am eager to get it started.

  4. A precisely planned initiative from an obviously dedicated individual. This is the forward thinking that makes our world flourish and seeing a passionate Caribbean mind drive his island forward is definitely commendable. See you in Johannesburg Kareem!

  5. Beginning with its witty heading, I really enjoyed reading this article. Not only is it informative, but as I read on I became more excited as the ideas unfolded. These are all concepts that are to be encouraged anywhere in the world, but especially here in the Caribbean where a need for self-reliance in the food industry is compelling. Kareem’s ideas are sound and very do-able and it would help to bring down food prices. I look forward to having my kale and heating it.

    1. Patricia…. you’re spot on, self-reliance in the food industry is critical in our region. It is imperative that we do not turn a blind eye to the vulnerable position we can place ourselves in by continuing to neglect agriculture. My project seeks to reduce the cost of food for our people, which will ultimately make us happier and healthier people.

  6. Interesting and innovative Project. As an employee of the Ministry of Agriculture, I ‘m looking forward to see this project lift off the ground and continue to prosper.
    Good luck and God’s blessings to you Kareem as you strive to do something that you really love and enjoy.


  7. Interesting and innovative Project Kareem. Working within the Ministry of Agriculture I’m anticipating in seeing this project get a big lift off the ground and continue to proper.
    Blessings and good luck to you Kareem! I’m sure you’ll do a good job and also to continue to encourage the youth who are interested in becoming budding entrepreneurs in Agriculture.

    1. Thanks for the support Rochelle. Agriculture is much to important and there are far too many young people under the age of 30 in our region without jobs… so yes… I will continue to persevere.

  8. Excellent initiative, definitely aims at long term development and diversification of the economy.

  9. Very well written proposal. You have clearly thought very thoroughly through this project and have come up with a very precise plan, which I can foresee will be a very sucessful one. I think you may have found your calling in agriculture, wishing you the world of sucess and I encourage you to continue to think outside of the box for Barbados and the Caribbean.

  10. …an innovative step in the right direction and definitely necessary in Barbados and other small island developing states. I hope to hear of the positive results soon. Good luck!

  11. Great work Kareem. I know you have great incite and will give the required effort for this to be a success. All the best!

  12. I know very little about agriculture, so I won’t pretend to. However, it’s clear that the author possesses passion, ambition, but also humility. And, with those three characteristics it’s hard to fail at anything. So, I am convinced that he deserves the chance.

  13. very interesting and informative. Great ideas this country would surly benefit from somthing like this.

  14. A very innovative and well thought out project. Projects such as this are necessary to help transform the Caribbean. Best of luck.

  15. I am pleased with the direction the Youth Agripreneurship
    Project is taking and the passion of you and your team. Wishing
    you and the team every success as you aim to achieve this initiative.

  16. Your project also shows the myriad opportunities in agriculture. I also like the fact that you have identified young people as important in this Process. Very commendable.

  17. This is a wonderful initiative Kareem as it addresses many issues plaguing Barbados especially the increasing food import bill and chronic NCDs which are of great concern.

    Barbados cannot continue to sustainably support a food import bill that is approximately $500 million a year and of even greater concern is the fact that eight out of ten deaths in Barbados are due to non-communicable diseases and a high percentage of these deaths occur prematurely. Your project contributes to a resolution of these issues. Kudos!

    1. Renee…. You hit the nail right on the head. There is nothing else to be said as your comments fully capture the problems my project is seeking to address.

  18. This project proposal is very innovative and exciting and will make a huge difference by encouraging healthy eating and assisting in reducing and recycling waste.

    It is also timely and extremely important given that Barbados is, per capita, among the top 20 countries with the most obese persons and top 10 countries which generate the most garbage. I wish you every success.

  19. This is exactly the type of innovation we need in the Caribbean. Best wishes going forward.

  20. From zero to sixty in no time. That’s the power of agriculture, passion and youth. I am thoroughly impressed by your focus and dedication to the sector, not to mention your mastery of project management. In addition to denting the food import bill, I can see a green miracle in your proposed idea as you turn that trash into useful cash 🙂 Excellence Kareem!

  21. From zero to sixty in no time. That’s the power of agriculture, passion and youth. I am thoroughly impressed by your focus and dedication to the sector, not to mention your mastery of project management. In addition to denting the food import bill, I can see a green miracle in your proposed idea as you turn that trash into useful cash 🙂 Excellence Kareem!

  22. This is amazing! Thank you for working as a world peace ambassador to bring hope to the future with and for the next generations.

  23. Great initiative and very informative. One that i forsee will be put into practice for sure and sees that barbados benfit and by extension the Caribbean. Well done

  24. Best of luck to you Kareem!!!! This is a great idea!!

    It’s time that we all take responsibility for the world that we live in and try to find ways to do better and be better. Lead the way!!!

    1. Thank you for your support. It is important for the young people of today to recognize the role they ought to play to create sustainable environments.

  25. It is indeed heartening to see the young people of the Caribbean using ingenuity in agriculture. Best of luck.

  26. As a region with limited resources, it is also good to see young people embrace the concept of protected agriculture.

  27. True traits of a leader…knowing how to follow as well! A much needed project which can help to take Caribbean people back to self sufficiency in food and resilience. Based on your track record so far monsieur Payne, I know this too shall be a success.

  28. Hi Kareem
    Great to see your focus in the areas of food security and sustainability, both so critical to community health and well being. I do hope that your proposal gets the nod to move forward!

  29. Very well said dad. I wish you all the best in the competition. Agriculture is the right field for you.

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