How it all started…
My name is Enricka Julien. I am a 29-year-old professional working in the agriculture industry in Trinidad and Tobago, and I have a dream. The dream is to own my very own agribusiness.
Ever since I was a child growing up in the countryside, in a rural community called Hardbargain, I have been curious about the inner workings of the agriculture sector. In my village the cultivation of sugarcane and small-scale farming were the main sources of income for many families, including my own. This experience to a great extent has influenced my passion for agriculture.
I have since been propelled to discover new techniques to contribute in a meaningful way towards the development of local farming communities, with the aim of expanding to other Caribbean islands.
My interest is not only evident in my educational pursuits but also in my hobby as a self-proclaimed foodie. I originally started my blog about food to teach my friends how make value added products from local/traditional foods. However, more research was required to take value chains to the next level.
I researched the topic and learned that the agriculture industry was slowly on the decline. According to a report from the Central Statistical Office of Trinidad and Tobago for 2012, the agriculture industry’s input to the Gross Domestic Product was 0.6%. This figure steadily declined in 2014 to 0.5%.
Outdated, inadequate and unreliable access to information and communication technology has been blamed for the poor economic performance of Trinidad and Tobago’s agricultural sector.
This is because ICTs are among the most effective drivers of agricultural growth and transformation in ACP countries.
With this perspective in mind I created the blog ‘Ebites’. Ebites is poised to play an important role in promoting the application of ICTs in the agricultural sector and will place a specific emphasis on livestock issues, youth leadership, rural cooperation and policy development and advocacy for the inclusion of women in agriculture.
My Vision is to create an interactive diary which uses social media tools such as WordPress, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to strategically funnel consumers towards farmers, manufacturers of value added products and acquire new site visitors.
With my vision documented the next step was simple, I created four strategic objectives that would support the extension of my blog into a business. These objectives are as follows;
- To identify strategic partners in key sectors such as government agencies, not-for-profit and for profit organizations, educational institutions and the media for the development of the agriculture industry and its stakeholders.
- Develop promotional material for each key segment to create awareness of the challenges and successes of smallholder farming.
- Develop proof points and address any concerns with becoming an Ebites customer.
- To create a platform for dialogue and to be inspired by the innovations taking place in agriculture and rural development.
How will I change the world
Part of the dream for my business is to change the way people perceive agriculture by making more success stories available to readers and viewers. Below I have outlined some ideas that I have envisioned with the aim of ensuring that the blog sparks its readers’ interest and addresses issues affecting the family farming community.
2016 –2017 Planned Activities
Web series entitled ‘Women in Agriculture—Pathways to Success’. The purpose of this web series is to highlight the contribution of women towards the development of the agriculture sector.
The series starts by visiting women in rural communities within Trinidad and Tobago. This programme will eventually be expanded to podcast interviews which will be an unparalleled learning and networking opportunity for both viewers and participants (interviewees). The series is projected to start on May 24, 2016.
Mentorship Programme—For young agripreneurs between the ages 16 to 25. The intention of this program is to help young agripreneurs develop their business ideas from incubation to maturation.
Internship Opportunities—To provide up to date information on practical work experience for young agriculture professionals in the areas of Marketing, Research and farm management.
Potential sources of income
- Consultancy services
- Advertising – product placement in videos and advertising on the website.
- Assistance in conducting research studies.
- Organize/Host agricultural events
USD 1,500 – Videography and podcast equipment such as camera, microphone, etc.
USD 300 – Cost to convert blog to website includes domain name, hosting, and template.
USD 2,000 – Travel expenses to conduct web series in Guyana and St. Lucia
USD 700 – Training in graphic design and video editing
USD 500 – Promotional material
I truly believe based on my knowledge and experience that I would be able to satisfy all the requests of The YAP Programme and prove that agricultural blogs can be successful business ventures. I look forward to broadening the reach, interest and face of agriculture in my country for young agripreneurs and by extension the wider agricultural community.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Enricka Julien (Trinidad and Tobago): neashaj[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
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