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by Sheree-Anita Shearer | Associate Writer
The Montpelier Agricultural Show is one of the greatest displays of agriculture in Jamaica. Many persons in the agriculture sector use showcases like these to market their produce and products to potential customers.
It also sometimes leads to the merging or partnership of businesses that might be selling complementary products. It’s also a huge fun day for everyone. Because it is usually held on Easter Monday, which is a public holiday, it is a family outing.
Although the showcase is held in Montego Bay, individuals come from all over the country. So it’s a great place to meet different people and personalities and that is exactly what we did.
The very first vendor we went to was the cane juice man, Mr Melvin Jones who journeyed all the way from New Market, St. Elizabeth to serve up delicious cane juice on the spot. As he puts it, “nuh from last night, mi just a dweet”. Mr. Melvin takes his business seriously. First, he grows his cane plants himself and waits for them to be ripe on the farm before cutting them down.
When it's time to make the juice, he washes his canes properly, cut them in half and then puts them in the cane juice extractor with ginger, and that’s it no additives or preservatives. Mr Melvin has been doing this for years from his shop in New Market and has been coming to Montpelier Agriculture Show for some time.
If you are ever driving through New Market, you can stop by for your own refreshing cup at Mr Melvin’s shop just passed the gas station or give him a call at +1 (876) 280-9979. You can also purchase other fruits and a Jamaican favourite, wet sugar, from Mr Melvin as well.
Jamaicans don’t usually spend alot of time coming up with names for persons. So I’ll allow you to guess Mr Alfred’s alias in his community. He plants, sells and manufactures bi-products from the Java Plum fruit. He makes jams, wines, drinks and teas from the cranberry-like plant.
Although this fruit is not native to Jamaica, Mr. Alfred actually brought it back from West Africa, he saw great potential in the fruit and was able to create a business from the fruit. He describes it as a great detox for the body and a regulator for diabetic patients.
His business is operated from the community of Retrieve, Hanover, so if you are passing through and would like to purchase directly from Mr Alfred, just give him a call at +1 (876) 382-9407/+1 (876) 793-1108/+1 (876) 259-8232 or just ask for Java Plum. But, you can also get these products at select locations in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios.
The sisters from Rastafari Never Grow Old really opened our eyes to the versatility of the foods we have naturally growing in Jamaica. Their business, which is operated from St Leonards, Westmoreland, has many products some of which are made from fruits we all use and quite enjoy, but in ways, we've never thought of before. Their offering includes:
To get any of these products you can contact them at +1 (876) 957-563/ +1 (876) 863-8076 on WhatsApp.
Their products are actually in a few locations in Montego Bay, Savanna-la-mar, Spanish Town and Ocho Rios.
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
Clubs and organizations also came out to the Montpelier Agricultural Show.
For one, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries came out representing a few departments including cattle rearing and the gentlemen from Minard Estate and the Research Department which is responsible for teaching farmers more sustainable ways to practice agriculture.
They also sell seedlings such as Jamaica’s favourite, the scotch bonnet.
The gentlemen from Minard Estate brought the most impressive bulls I have ever seen, one weighing over 2,000 pounds! They are used not for dairy farming but for beef production. Organizations like these are responsible for providing information to Jamaicans who would like to enter agriculture under the various disciplines.
If you are Jamaican, then you already know what the 4-H club is, but if you aren’t sure what that is, it is an organization that fosters a love for agriculture in children and youth between the ages of 5 and 35. Because of this, they work quite often with schools like the Hopewell high school and young farmers like Leon Maxwell whose produce was on display at the 4-H booth. Many schools have 4-H Clubs with activities and competitions for the members. The main one being National 4-H Achievement Day which is held annually
From the school's farm, you could see eggs and vegetables that the agriculture department along with the students were able to produce for sale. Leon’s thriving farm produces pineapples, ginger, peas and nutmeg. A feat he is proud of. His advice to young farmers is to just stick with it. It might seem that it isn’t paying off in the beginning, but you’ll see the profits rolling in.
4-H also has its own agro-processing factory in Denbigh, Clarendon, where it manufactures coconut oil, honey and castor oil among other products.
For persons who would like to learn agro-processing concepts, they can contact 4-H and they will provide training on the different production and safety processes. Many farmers now, got their start through the 4-H club’s presence in their schools and communities.
There is no event without food and many cooks and drink makers took to Montpelier to offer their services for the day.
We were able to have:
The Montpelier Agricultural Show is a great platform for farmers to showcase their products and it is a great learning centre for those just starting out in agriculture. Plus it is a wholesome family fun day. These are just a few of the reasons this event is much anticipated yearly.
You can watch the video here, then you can prepare to join in the festivities next year.
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