Green House Farming

Project Type: Agriculture | Crop Farming

INTRODUCTION

There has been an increase in the demand for agriculture ground provision such as Irish potato, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Coco, Tomatoes and Sweet Peppers in the local market.
In spite of this demand the country is still unable to supply the market demand. This failure is as a result of not many young people entering into agriculture, unavailability of capital due to inadequate financial commitment.

SUMMARY

Few sustainable farming systems exist in Jamaica today that are environmentally friendly and easily accessible and acceptable to consumers. Unitas of Jamaica has holding located in Mizpah, Manchester approximately seven (11) kilometers north of Mandeville and 8 kilometers south of Christiana in the Parish of Manchester. Manchester is considered one of the Mecca of farming in Jamaica with annual rain fall of more than 2,000 mm yearly.

JUSTIFICATION

The continuing use of manual labour renders the countries agricultural sector productive process uncompetitive. Since globalisation countries are placing propriety on redevelopment and the large population of farmers must play a significant role in the development of the country especially in food production.

Improving Unitas of Jamaica farmers group in a Manchester-based community, whose mission is to provide high quality, nutritional, and flavourful vegetables for consumption in both near and Hotel regions of the Jamaica and export market.

OBJECTIVES

Broad Objective:
To provide sustainable crop production to the Jamaican farming communities to improve the standard of production that will stimulate growth in the agricultural sector. It will provide for a comprehensive development in farm technology within the island thus creating greater reward to the company.

Specific Objective:

i

To provide an efficient and improve crop production services with the introduction of new and more efficient
method of agriculture to maximise the use of land practices in Jamaica that will provide a positive impact of
the company’s investments.

ii

To provide the necessary training of technicians to carry out all technologically advanced operations locally
making the company more competitive in the global market place.

iii

To establish seven green houses on half (0.5) hectares of land annually within giving the company the ability
to maximise its potential to operate profitable in Jamaica.

iv

To produce vegetables in vast quantities to assist with the support of the Moravian church communities
spiritual and religious programmes.

BACKGROUND OF THE REQUEST

PROBLEM

Jamaican, by and large, lacks pride and appreciation in agriculture because of negative experiences with preadial larceny and sharecropping. Farming is looked upon by young people as a form of menial and is form of slavery. 

Economic Hardship
The economic hardship being experience by developing countries and small family farmers also discourages many of our people from this occupation. The promise of northern freedom and opportunities for work in urban industrial jobs caused a mass migration of Jamaican to towns and cities. This mass migration has resulted in an alarming loss of farmers and idle land. It has resulted in an elderly population physically unable and a younger generation mentally unwilling to work the farm.
Environmental Problem
In addition to the social and historical factors contributing to Jamaican land loss is the fact that modern farming contributes to serious environmental problems, be it loss of wetlands, poisonous pesticides, herbicides, artificial fertilizers, eroding land, and contaminated groundwater. Sustainable farming, the creation of alternative markets and the application of appropriate technologies could stop the decline of Jamaican farming families and small farmers.
Social REvitalization
Moreover, green house farming provides a viable, environmentally friendly alternative to the agricultural practices of petrochemical farm conglomerates.
The decline of organised small farming has also been caused by the expansion of farm size, the financial outlays required to make farm production economically efficient, the dependence on expensive chemical treatments and over mechanization of the farming operation. In short, young people will participate in farming when it is a profitable business enterprise, provides good jobs and upward mobility, is regarded as a high esteem occupation and is a safe working environment. A comprehensive campaign is needed for the economic, environmental and social revitalization of the Jamaican farmer.

We will design a programme to be implemented under the following headings:

SOLUTION

This Sustainable Farming Project will provide a technology-based means of promoting the efficient use of natural resources, provide an opportunity for environmentally sound economic self-sufficiency, and ensure the preservation and expansion of Jamaican small farmers. The Sustainable agriculture will also promote protection of the environment, particularly surface water, and groundwater and soil conservation.

METHODOLOGY

The Sustainable green house project will be implemented in three (3) phases:

i. Design and Pilot Project Initiation

This phase is already completed and all documentation and collaboration was put in place to construct the water harvesting and storage facility. A Design Team headed by Mr. Lester Murray (Agronomist) will have responsibility for formulating goals and timetables for project performance milestones will deliver the design phase of Mizpah Green House Project. The team draft plan will provide for effective operation, communication and accountability during the life cycle of the project. This plan will specify the operational components of the Pilot Project Initiation, Pilot Project implementation and Commercialisation (Business Plan)

ii. Pilot Project Implementation

The storage capacity of 3,000,000 litres of water in two ponds is now in place and is full to capacity awaiting the installation of the green houses. Unitas of Jamaica had initiated the Sustainable Mizpah’s Green House Pilot Project as a model design and information for the other farming models. For instance, the Maidstone farm, located in Manchester, has gained experience in green house farming and solar/irrigation technology utilization by operating a five (5) acre farm site, which uses a solar powered pump to draw water for irrigation.

iii. Commercialization. (Business Aspect)

Unitas of Jamaica will work with Environmentalist who will work with RADA, Environmental Foundation of Jamaica(EFI) and other organizations with high technology farming expertise to provide a tourist attraction approach that will initially target the Mizpah area of Manchester as the first social intervention by the church community towards food security. There are three green houses in place, however to be economically viable as a business an addition of four more green houses will have to be constructed. The Zorn Moravian Church men’s fellowship will be installing one of the four. Once the design plan outline has been completed, a research team will begin assembling methodology, technical specifications, staffing descriptions, materials list, and regulatory policy considerations necessary for the Mizpah pilot Project

Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA)

The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) will serve as the nucleus of the Mizpah’s Green House Pilot Project. RADA will form alliances to examine econometric models for the organic farming pilot project and future local, state, regional, national and international organic farming commercialization. RADA will examine the environmental implications of organic farming using the pilot project methods and technologies. RADA will compare the effects of fertilizers, eroding land, and groundwater with practices using compost, crop rotation, crop substitution, weed chopping, soil conservation, integrated pest management as alternatives to pesticides, and solar powered drip irrigation.

The participants designated to replicate the Mizpah model will recruit community organizations. They will be encouraged to initiate organic produce distribution and information services. RADA will coordinate the organic farming information transfer to community groups for dissemination into inner city neighbourhoods. RADA will work with community groups to provide outreach services to established food banks, open-air and sheltered food markets. RADA will design a plan for expanding this effort into other urban and rural areas Vegetables Farmers Group’s first line of production will be the green vegetable and red vegetable. During the summer months Farmers Group will be growing carrots, romaine lettuce, leeks, red onions, summer squash, and spinach. In the fall, production will center on pumpkins, winter squash, globe beets and winter greens. With the growth of the popular green house food niche, and the government’s new labeling policy, The Company’s farm will have a capacity sufficient to produce in excess of 200,000 lbs. of vegetables per year.

Farmers Group’s strategy is a combination of the two technologies during the cool winter months which will allow the utilization of normally wasted space in the greenhouses for the high price winter greens production. This will allow double cultivation of the greenhouses with almost no additional heating necessary in this climate.

What is the relevance to the church
The property on which the farm will be established belongs to the Moravian Church of Jamaica and the infrastructure will be improved as a condition for establishing the venture. As the service agency of the church every aspect of our work must be agreed with them before any further move is made. Proceeds from the venture will be used to assist with the Mizpah church renovation as a mark of preserving the history of Moravian religious worship in Jamaica. This building is in excess of 150 years old and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust has earmarked it as a national treasure. With the improvement of the physical structure we will be able to introduce religious tourism as a new product in Jamaica. Church members stand to benefit from the production of vegetables to support their diaconal programmes.
Information about target group

The target customers to service along with the training of young people will include but not limited to include vegetable markets demanding organic green vegetables, vegetable processors, and private individual buyers through direct selling and farmers markets. The company will service the customers of the purchased vegetable farms. In its greens house production the company will target virtually all main food outlets. The company plans to use the Internet as one of its marketing channels in the future.

The company’s target customers will be as follows:

VEGETABLES
• Vegetable processors.
Hotel Industry and Restaurants People approaching the farm. Roadside stands and farmers’ markets.
Farmers Group has an established list of present customers Adams Valley Farm owned and managed by Lester Murray vegetable farm, which is a major asset to the sales of the company.

Motivational Initiative

Moreover, green house farming provides a viable, environmentally friendly alternative to the agricultural practices of petrochemical farm conglomerates.
The decline of organised small farming has also been caused by the expansion of farm size, the financial outlays required to make farm production economically efficient, the dependence on expensive chemical treatments and over mechanization of the farming operation. In short, young people will participate in farming when it is a profitable business enterprise, provides good jobs and upward mobility, is regarded as a high esteem occupation and is a safe working environment. A comprehensive campaign is needed for the economic, environmental and social revitalization of the Jamaican farmer.

RATIONALE FOR THE MIZPAH GREEN HOUSE PROJECT

  1. To generate income this will impact positively on UNITAS related projects.
  2. Provide employment and training for our member and other community person interested.
  3. To provide vegetables to institutions in Golden Age Homes, Bethlehem Moravian Teachers College and Unitas school feeding programme with ZZg and other organizations and institutions at “farm gate prices”
  4. To provide an avenue for generating income in the Moravian Churches in this province –
    1. Individual churches will be motivated to establish their greenhouse/s.
    2. Two or more Moravian Churches will be encouraged to join together to create their greenhouse/s.

Implementation plan

The Unitas of Jamaica strategy is to profitably and efficiently utilize present and future agricultural technology in the production of vegetables. The company will acquiring all the necessary custom-innovated equipment; will gain a significant industry advantage. Additional application and utilization of irrigation technology in the production of vegetables will allow double utilization of the climate controlled portion of the overhead. Unitas hopes to consolidate considerable goodwill already created by exercising the option of not adding another high-production facility to the present supply-demand scenario.

The company’s goals in the first year are to:

Prepare the future site.

  • Construct the Green House vegetable system and get it operational.
  • Integrate greens culture into the system.
  • Have the composting system in full production by early spring of the second year.
    The company’s long-term plan is to phase out whichever products are least lucrative and replace them with products that are practical and cost efficient.

Sustainability

In a highly volatile country with increasing social instability, we recognize the need to be constantly changing to adapt to the prevailing environment. The management team extensive expertise and a broad knowledge of the solutions provided, if well planned, will enable the project to realize its goals and objectives. The management style will reflect the participation of all qualified members of church community that will respect its community and treat all participants well. We will develop and nurture the project as a community rather that an organisation. The project staffs are member of the Moravian Church in Jamaica communities who will continue to cooperate and partners with the JSIF, Ministry of Agriculture (RADA) Christiana Potatoes Growers Association and National Irrigation Commission (NIC). We will seek indirect support with our corporate and ecumenical partners to expand the project as improvement to all our programmes. The facility will continue to be made available to the community the same services with a view to receive buy-in from the government and private sector to contribute the subsidies for the charges to users to ensure sustainability for access to the use of the facilities.

The organization is seeking to provide the following services/products in the near future through its Development Plan.

  • Extension/education services.
  • Tissue culture produced disease free planting materials for farmers at the future site.
  • Establish sustainable greenhouse farming in central Jamaica coupled with a tree crop project.
  • Add value to farmers produce by providing storage, grading, packaging, marketing and distribution services.

Collaborations and Partnerships

The main team comprises:

  • The communities’ management committees: to provide the ongoing evaluation, monitoring and advertising
    support within the adjoining communities.
  • Sponsor’s Representative (Unitas of Jamaica and Moravian Church) who manages the project who donate the land
    and provide support in part payment of all the utilities and maintenance of the facility.
  • Donor agencies representative provide funding to get the facility started
  • Ministry of Agriculture (RADA) & NIC: will provide assistance with Construction, extension and regulatory
    practices.
  • Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ) project team
  • Christiana Potato Growers Association

sustainable agriculture

Sustainable agriculture, which is a goal rather than distinct set of practices, is a system of food and fiber production that will:

  • improves the underlying productivity of natural resources and cropping systems so that farmers can meet increasing levels of demand in concert with population and economic growth; produces food that is safe, wholesome, and nutritious and that promotes human well-being;
  • ensures an adequate net farm income to support an acceptable standard of living for farmers while also underwriting the annual investments needed to improve progressively the productivity of soil, water, and other resources; and complies with community norms and meets social expectations.

Economic and Financial
This project is a cooperative effort funded by the Zeister Zendingsgenootschap (ZZg) Moravian Missionary Society in the Netherlands through Unitas of Jamaica. An Agriculture crop Project started in 2011 to administer a multiyear grant from ZZg intended to assist in the creation of sustainable, community based food systems. The project is intended to support the production of such foods in small communities in order to improve their own consumption and to explore the economic potential for export sales. The income generated from this venture will be invested in a fund to replicate this model throughout the specified communities. Details of that plan will be elaborated in the business plan.
Gender Sustainability
It is very important to note that green house technology is one of the more friendly type of farming to both genders. This comes about as a result of the type of task that is required to own and operate a green house. Women are more suited and are very comfortable to provide the tedious task of planting and harvesting within a green house while men provide the support to get the green houses prepared for production.
Instructional sustainability

Education for Sustainability is a paradigm of education that puts citizenship and the creation of resilient, secure and prosperous communities at the center of teaching practice. The way to increased prosperity for all citizens is through collectively addressing the critical environmental, economic, and social issues of our local communities.

Specifically, through the use of diverse teaching strategies, it is possible to facilitate the development of argument formation capabilities, increased written communication skills, greater complex problem solving abilities, and increased opportunities for reflective deliberation—all of which have tended to be essential to the facilitation of higher order learning: the sine qua non of higher education.

Social and cultural
This project will be providing employment for youths in Mizpah, Walderston and its environs, with full time and part time employment for the coming years.
All training of workers will be done by Mr. Lester Murray who is an experience trained Agronomist who owns and operate a green house farm for the last eight years. This farm provides social and cultural activities to local and tourist who are interested in teaching children cultural practices. He is a Technical advisor to RADA Officers who from time to time conduct green house management and operation training in various RADA extension areas.
Ecological
The issue of deforestation will be reduced due to protected nature of green house production efficient use of small land space. Green house production improves quality of produce and consistency in supply thus increases profitability. Soil erosion caused by slash and burn techniques are greatly minimized in green house production. Green house productions greatly reduce agricultural losses to uncontrollable environmental conditions.