Youth in agriculture entrepeneurs win big at national business awards
Castries, St. Lucia. 1 March, 2017 (IICA). Two young entrepreneurs won several awards that recognize their entrepreneurial acumen at the Annual Saint Lucia Business Awards, demonstrating that the youth are innovating and capable of value-creating in the agricultural milieu. Both, were supported on their projects by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA).
Jameson Alphonse is the owner of Green Haven Fresh Farm, located in Bois D’Inde, an organic, integrated farm which specializes in vegetables, fresh water fishes and shrimps. Lettuce is grown in a deep-water culture aquaponics system with fishes and shrimps. The farm consists of an aquaponics system supported by an 80 000 gallons rainwater harvesting system, three greenhouses and an open field production.
The system is built over the rainwater harvesting system and comprise of 10 vertical grow beds and four fish tanks built one over each other, capitalizing on space utilization while increasing production per square foot. Jameson, who also has a stable contract with a major fresh produce buyer servicing client franchises, won the Green Award, Idea of the Year Award and the Prime Minister’s Award for Innovation.
Also winning the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award was Johanan Dujon of Dennery, the managing director of Algas Organics, which produces Algas Total Plant Tonic – a Sargassum seaweed-based plant tonic.
An independent study found outperformed several commercial fertilizer brands in important areas to overall plant development, and was recognized as a booster of plant functionality aiding resilience to adverse weather. The Algas Total Plant Tonic is on shelves around the country including community agricultural input stores as well as major hardware and home-and-garden retailers locally.
Alphonse and Dujon received support from IICA in access to finance, development of strategic partnerships, governance, technical guidance in implementation, business management advice, and support in procuring key inputs for these two enterprises. They acknowledged the Institute’s guidance, as well as the support of the Saint Lucia Agricultural Forum for Youth (SLAFY) to youth entrepreneurs in agriculture.
“This experience points out the importance of targeted interventions supporting greater youth entrepreneurship and participation in agriculture as a viable and successful path to owning one’s own business and having greater personal and professional freedom and reward,” said the IICA’s national specialist in St. Lucia, Brent Theopile.
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