Water Harvesting

Goal: Building safe & harmonious communities


Through its Food Security Strategy, the Government of Jamaica has identified irrigation as a major issue which has the potential to make a considerable impact on the production and productivity of agriculture. For small farmers, who are for the most part unable to access irrigation systems, agricultural production is limited due to the dependence on rainfall.

Against this background, Unitas of Jamaica a service agency of the Moravian church in Jamaica and the Cayman Island is seeking the assistance of the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, to have increased availability of water in rain fed communities at locations where improved rainwater harvesting is used to ensure all year production of domestic food crops. The project will be implemented over a 2 month period and focuses on rainwater harvesting through ponds and improving the capabilities among farmers in Good Agricultural Practices, which includes rainwater harvesting techniques.

The Unitas of Jamaica will oversee the implementation of the project with guidance from the NIC/Rural Agricultural Development Authority. The total project budget is estimated at J$7.3 million. This amount excludes the casual labour and the on-farm irrigation equipment needed for each farm operation; these inputs will be provided by the project beneficiaries. The overall objective of the project is to improve rural livelihoods, improve food security, and promote small farm enterprises.

The Minister of Agriculture had indicated his intention to generate jobs for the unemployed youths with the introduction of cassava production using mechanised conditions. One of the Government plans is to develop Agriculture so the Jamaica can reduce the amount of imported food and save precious foreign exchange.

Diageo the parent company of Denose &Geddes Jamaica Ltd sets its eyes on using cassava starch in beer and has being having a series of demonstrations in Jamaica to sensitise the local farmers to produce the very important starch that is used to manufacture the beer locally. The plan will focus on five crops, mainly cassava; Diageo has the plan to inject millions of dollars into the hands of Jamaican farmers and into the economy through sufficiency in cassava production for making various bi products.

The Government of Jamaica announced its intention to discourage importation of some items that can easily be produced in this country including cassava, irish potatoes and ginger products. At the same time encourages those interested in local production and export to develop the local production of these crops and at the same time encourages self-reliance on local food consumption.

The present government has paid attention on the development of agriculture and other non-oil exportable products. Cassava production, processing into chips & pellets, industrial ştarch, ethanol, garri, cassava flour and foo-foo is still a very lucrative agro-industrial project. Ginger produce in large quantities will be used as the source flavouring and other agro processing products.

In 2010 the Ministry of Agriculture has came up with lots of packages to benefit farmers to develop agriculture. These are great opportunities to exploit. Every hand should be on deck to encourage cassava production either through provision of funds or through encouragement of production for export market



Our immediate next steps are


Identify the arable land air marked for cassava, Irish potatoes, carrot and other root crops.


Build a simple feasibility Model for cultivation and harvesting based on: land size, crop density, mechanization,
labor, utilities and other overheads


Identify the level of sticks, equipment and other infrastructure that is required


Map timeline for cultivation and supply
The value proposition is for cassava starch to be supplied to Red Stripe via agro processing. You would need to determine where your involvement in such a supply chain would terminate, that is as a grower or processor or both. Goshen Root Crop Producers Objective:
Establish Agriculture production facility without compromising product quality. Establish strong sales in the country’s major food processing chains. Maintain tight control of cost and operation during expansion.


QualityOur root crops products are the highest quality, most nutritious food products…because we will accept nothing less.

InnovativeOur products have always been in the forefront of the health and nutrition wave. Innovative products, state of the art manufacturing, quality assurance and industry expertise are the bases for our past and future successes.


Delivering freshly made foot crops products to consumers depends on extensive cooperation and mutual reliance between supplier and retailer. We stand behind our product, our service and our word.


The farm will be located in Goshen, St. Elizabeth who will be a grower, seller and processor of cassava, sweet potatoes and ginger. Goshen Root Crop Producers will sells the product both at farmer markets as well as direct to juice processors. The business will be based out of Unitas of Jamaica, 3 Hector Street, Kingston 5 and the farm and plant office at the old Cassava Factory property located in Goshen district in St. Elizabeth which is a 143 acres parcel of land that the farming operations will be situated. This group of investors both locally and overseas will provide the initial funding and initiate the management as well as organizing the policies, standards and directions and provide the company with the working capital.

Investment Opportunity

Presently the property targeted is owned by the Government of Jamaica and is not in production. This investment will see the investors enter into a lease and sale agreement to acquire the property over a ten year period. This request will be to formalised a reliable acquisition period to developed the present property management and administration of the ownership. This will allow the company and the Government to Benefits by:

  • Increased capacity
  • Access to greater resources, including specialized staff, technology and finance
  • Contributes to National Food Security
  • Conserves on Foreign Exchange;
  • Become an Income earner

Company Ownership

Goshen Root Crop Producers farms will be a Farm and Factory owned by Everton McKenzie and the Investors with lands lease from the Ministry of Agriculture with Lester Murray as the Chairman. Goshen Root Crop Producers will fund the business with a commercial investment loan between the investors. An additional loan will be secured by D&G and the cooperative to construct the cassava processing plant. The repayment will be structured to accommodate the repayment from the sales of the product to Diageo.

Justification for Plan

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 the value added section of Jamaica’s agriculture will go a long way in assisting the production of foods in various formats.

The company and the cooperative farmers group in the Jamaican based community, whose mission is to provide high quality, nutritional, and flavourful product for consumption both locally and for the agro export market. With the local market now requires approximately 1,000 ha of produce annually the company will seeks to encourage and accommodate the communities in establishing productive farming and processing of crops to increase income for their sustainability of agricultural production in Jamaica,


We will offer the following products:

  • Cassava as feed ingredient -. animal feed
  • Cassava as industry raw material – starch.
  • Cassava as food – chips
  • Ginger as raw material
  • Ginger as oil Ginger as candy
  • Ginger as soft drinks
  • Sweet potatoes as industry raw material – starch.
  • Sweet potatoes as food – chips, drinks
  • Sweet potatoes as raw material

The products above but will form the basis of the operations while future products will be added as the market demands.


It is worthwhile to note that the manufacturers of starch base product ‘will replace imported starch in greater volume of the replacement product will be required. The largest manufacture of beer and other starch base beverage Diageo which is the parent company of D&G will require 1,200 hectares of raw cassava to produce the required amount of starch for their manufacturing process. Local manufacturers Diageo will guarantee us the market for starch while others had been targeted for semi-processed cassava to replace the use of imported substitute; Local consumers particularly in the rural areas will be targeted in the medium term for cassava based food and exporters are targeted for the grade one food products.
The co-operative will engage farmer training and workshop sessions for the farmers in Good Agricultural Practices. It is expected that Ginger production will increase island-wide thus, reducing the dependency on imports. Also with the use of Tissue Culture Plants, the number of disease out breaks should be reduced significantly and in addition this aids in the protections and conservation of local species. Christiana Potatoes Growers Association Co-operative Association is having discussions with Bodles Research station to look at the possibility of soil sampling prior to planting ginger to determine the disease load in the field. Discussions are also taking place with a Bio Pesticide company that produces a product that when applied to the soil multiplies and attack and kill soil organisms such as Pythium, Phytopthora and Fusarium protecting the roots from attack. CPGCA is willing to sit down with Goshen Root Crop Producers to put a realistic budget together to rebuild the Ginger industry in central Jamaica.
The introduction of this crop research finding it is now one of the fastest growing food that is now been consumed worldwide. The largest concentration of consumers for this Jamaican Grown produce is North America and England and predominantly Caribbean communities. In a recent discussion with an exporter is suggesting that sweet potatoes is different verities are the fastest produce off the shelves in Canada.

Production and Operations

The operations will commence with the:

  • Construction of the facility
  • Installation of the machinery
  • Identifying the farmers who will supply the raw materials to the factory
  • Getting the personnel to operate the factory
  • Obtaining permit to operate
  • Payment of requisite fees, licences etc
  • Inspection by local regulatory agencies.

Growth Opportunities

The market opportunity for native cassava starch will exist to some extent in any country that is becoming more industrialised and therefore consuming more starch in various industrial processes. It is assumed that starch processing will be carried out in a factory environment because of the sophisticated equipment requirement. Dry starch can be sold by the factory direct to the end user or further processed at the starch factory. Processing may include conversion into dextrins or formulation into starch based adhesives for the paperboard industry.

The main physical factors that are likely to determine success in exploiting this market opportunity are as follows:

Road infrastructure
A good road infrastructure is required to ensure that cassava roots can reach the factory for processing within 12 hours of harvest.
Produce supply
To produce high quality root crops, a reliable supply of roots with optimal maturity of 10-12 months is critical. Immature roots will have high water content and soluble sugars and less starch. Over mature roots will contain reduced amounts of starch of lower quality and high fibre.
Power supply
Starch is a mechanized process, so a reliable source of power needs to be provided. This may have to be self-contained as processing factories are likely to be situated in rural, close to the farms.
Water Supply
Water harvesting technology on the property will be developed to supply all the irrigation and factory fresh water supply. Starch factories require large amounts of good quality water for processing. Water used in processing should be free of solid particles, low in iron (<0.3m12 ferrous ions/litre) and as soft as possible. Access to land
This is most important for traditional factories that require a large area for settling tanks and drying yards was targeted to be acquired as Goshen in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica.
Availability of skilled labour
Modern and traditional starch factories have a relatively low labour requirement, and both require efficient management. But the modern factories need highly skilled personnel both to operate and to maintain the facility.