GFAR blog

YAP Proposal #387: Hydroponics and convenience packaging for vegetables and herbs (Stacey-Dane Hutchinson, Jamaica)


From the open field, to hydroponics, to packaging, to the end market – moving up along the value chain is my focus!

The average farmer in Jamaica is highly dependent on primary production, and he relies on the middle-men to purchase their produce at farm-gate. When we produce without a market, the bargaining power seldom lies in our hands.

I am expanding my enterprise by the use of hydroponics for vegetable and herb production, and the packaging of all produce for the local market.

I am Stacey-Dane Hutchinson and I am a 29-year-old young man. I hail from a fishing village, a small town called Port Royal in Kingston, Jamaica. Currently, I am employed as a Marine Technician. However, I am also a farmer!

I commenced my farming operations two years ago as I have always had a passion to support the Grow Jamaica Eat Jamaica movement. It has also proved to be a decent income earner while providing a rewarding feeling when harvesting and preparing my agricultural produce for buyers.

Currently I am producing cucumbers and okra, but in the past I have cultivated onions, peppers, okra, cucumber, melon, and Callaloo on 3 acres of land.

Today, the average consumer is extremely interested in what they consume.  Thus, packaging will ensure that the end market knows where the produce was grown and the system’s sustainability.

StaceydaneHutchinsonI plan to increase production and packaging of hot peppers and Callaloo for the local market. Onion production is growing rapidly in Jamaica and there is a market for small onions, commonly referred to as ‘gourmet onions’.

Thus, my intention is to expand the line of products by procuring these onions and packaging. I will engage farmers in my community to ensure a consistent flow of all targeted produce.

I am very passionate about hydroponics because of my close connection to marine life and my love for water. This also forms the basis for my current project to be submitted in the “Young Agripreneur Program”.

My operation is family-oriented as my wife is also very active in the farming business. Our main aim is to move our business up the value chain so that we can supply fresh produce in convenient packaging directly to the end market.

Currently, I have a plan to set up a hydroponic system to produce lettuce, watercress and herbs such as cilantro, shadon beni, oregano, parsley and rosemary.

This project seeks to support the set-up of the hydroponics system, label design and approval, and packaging material for produce. This operation will adhere to Good Agricultural Practices to maximize quality. Brand identification is important to expanding my enterprise. Therefore, I am eager to establish this product line.

The hydroponics system will be set up alongside a shade-house which operates within one of the many existing irrigation schemes, thus reducing water access risks.

This project aims to procure the following to support its execution:

The pipes and pipe fittings for hydroponic system ($1500 USD);
Power Drill (Hole Saw) and PVC pipes ($100 USD);
Net cups for the seedlings and four plastic drums, one for spinning equipment to remove excess potting mix from cups prior to sterilizing and others for nutrient blending ($1550 USD);
Registration of enterprise name, label design and agency fees for assessment and standardization ($1050 USD);
Purchase and printing of plastic bags with label and barcodes ($600 USD);
Miscellaneous ($200 USD).

Implementation Plan

The project will be implemented over a one-year period with the procurement of the PVC pipes, drill and cups in month 2-3. Registration of enterprise, label design and standardization will occur during months 3-5. The printing of packaging will be done in month 10.

The $5000 USD will substantially contribute to the operation. However, I will be covering other costs to execute other aspects of the enterprise which will not be facilitated under this project. This includes fertilizer, filters, pump, planting material, unbranded bags (used in early stages for packaging of lettuce, and other crops) while we constantly test and improve the system.

Keys to success

Success will be measured by the increase in production by using the intensive hydroponics system, the number of market arrangements to supply lettuce and other crops, the increased number of contractual arrangements provided to local farmers to support supply, the increase in income from diversifying production, and packaging of produce.

Success will also be measured by increased employment opportunities as certain aspects of this operation are labour intensive.

Social media pages shall be created to support the rollout of the enterprise and line of products.

As a young man seeking to establish my career in Agribusiness, I thank you for this opportunity! I especially look forward to the mentoring as it will propel me in the right direction: towards success, and to be a YAP Champion!


Blogpost and picture submitted by Stacey-Dane Hutchinson (Jamaica) – aydenhutchinson[at]

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

This post is published as proposal #387 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.

52 thoughts on “YAP Proposal #387: Hydroponics and convenience packaging for vegetables and herbs (Stacey-Dane Hutchinson, Jamaica)”

  1. This is a great initiative. Hydroponics is one of the new technologies in farming and increases yield with less space. Kudos to you sir.

  2. This is a wonderful project! It’s great to see young people who are passionate about farming. I endorse this project 100%. Keep up the good work guys. Awareness is key and this initiative is one step on the path to fairer prices for consumers and farmers alike. I support local!

    Like! Like! Like!

    1. Thank you Diane. Value Chain Development is key to development… spreading the value across the chain is essential

  3. The proposed product line seems very interesting. Will the hydroponics system be semiprotected, protected or opened.

    1. Looking in the first instance to go protected, using greenhouse technology but as the business continues, I will be exploring a mix of all options.

  4. Sounds amazing and like you guys really got a plan.I wish you good luck and a lot success for the project.


  5. Great effort and resounding success. I fully appreciate this blog because it empirically demonstrate sustainability through agriculture.

    Jamaica’s future success lies in sustainable development In agriculture and the approach to agriculture demonstrated herein is indeed successful and sustainable

    1. Indeed Sir McKenzie. Sustainable development is necessary to ensure a better tomorrow for our offsprings…

  6. This is a great move, you’ve always been interested in farming & since you bought that land I’ve seen a tremendous growth in your work. I will support you 100% on this venture because it’s something you are doing not for financial gain, but for the love of your land. This program suites you well, I hope you will be one of the picks for it…all the best!!!

  7. Supporting the movement of the farming industry. Great idea…keep up the outstanding work and you’ll reap what you sow.

    1. Thank you FP! Agriculture is so much more than just farming… it is multi-faceted and must be treated with respect.

  8. As a program manager at Broward College here in South Florida and a huge proponent of urban farming (utilizing hydroponics and micro apiary) procedures to promote the importance of growing produce and implementing farm to table concepts, I am BEYOND excited to see this culture of learning being promoted among like minded professionals and young people like you and your wife! I know you will be successful, as I see you are driven and focused on your goals, mission and objectives, which is to better not only your country but to also spread the word on how important these concepts are and also instill in as many people as you can, the knowledge of urban farming, building strong communities and its connection to climate change. Good luck Stacey!!

  9. Hi Dane I totally enjoyed reading this article and it’s really great seeing young Agripreneur so passionate. I would love to contribute to your project as I strongly believe in it snd you. I wish you all the best,support blessings. Looking forward to purchase.

    Nickisha “Zion Skye” Johnson

  10. Hi Dane I totally enjoyed reading this article and it’s really great seeing young Agripreneur so passionate. I would love to contribute to your project as I strongly believe in it snd you. I wish you all the best,support blessings. Looking forward to purchase.


    Nickisha “Zion Skye” Johnson

  11. I am please to see the progress you’re making a difference in the agriculture world. As someone in the food industry I can appreciate the produce you provide throughout the Caribbean.

  12. Wonderful job. I give you the utmost praise for your hard work and effort in making a change in the Caribbean.

  13. Great job Dane, you are very knowledgeable about this field and I have no doubt that you will accomplish what u set out to do. I enjoyed reading it, your plans are exciting and game changing for our country way to go on staying competitive!.

  14. Great Job Dane , I enjoyed reading it and i have no doubt that u will accomplish what u set out to do, your thinking is not only competitive but game changing and very good look for a young Ariprepnuer such as your self way to go.

  15. I have been thinking about this article on a daily bases because I truly believe in agriculture and farming because it creates sustainable living. Now the hydroponics system is a great system and I would love to see this dream realized and be as successful as it can be so that we may have food in abundance that our people can eat well and nourish their minds with proper food. I support this endeavor 150‰

  16. This iis very impressive, looking forward to seeing this project manifest. All the best and keep me updated.
    You inspire me !!!!!!!!!

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