A Local Farmer practices what he preaches as he appeals to colleagues to protect their interests

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29th August 2019

A Local Farmer practices what he preaches as he appeals to colleagues to protect their interests

Mr. Marvin Joseph is one of the owners of Paradise Farms located in Table Hill Garden, Liberta.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Colin O’Keiffe and other members of staff paid a visit to the farm earlier this week and was pleased with the transformation and good agricultural practices that are taking place on the farm.

In taking the group on a brief tour of the property, Mr. Joseph explained his plans to develop poultry production and spoke about his best practices in rearing his special breed of pigs.

Joseph also grows fruit trees as well as vegetables on the farm.

During the visit, we noticed that work is being done on expanding the pens and enhancing certain infrastructure to house a new set of broilers which should be arriving at the farm shortly as the previous set has been consumed by a favourable market base.

The veteran farmer said that one pen has to capacity to hold up to eight hundred (800) chickens and the other, six thousand (6,000).

Currently, Joseph is installing a self-automated watering system in the pens which will refill the cups when it reaches a certain level.

Also, he is installing feeders which will lower the amount of labor needed.

For the first fourteen to twenty one (14-21 days) that the chicks are there, Joseph said that he will use seven pound (7lb) feeders and after that period, he will increase the size to twenty two pound (22lb) feeders.

When the chickens have reached full maturity, they are then slaughtered for meat consumption.

Mr. Joseph said that his customer base includes hotels which make up a great percentage of his business, as the guests predominantly request locally produced chickens instead of the imported meats.

He said that one of the main reasons for their choice is the way in which he raises the chickens on his farm.

“ We don’t use any hormones or vaccines in raising the chickens; they are all grain fed and we try to use all natural methods to deworm them like rosemary and noni which we add to the water to clean them out instead of using chemicals, “explained Mr. Joseph. He said that he is also in the process of setting up a processing area for poultry.

The breed of pigs which Mr. Joseph carries on his farms is the large white pigs, which are only grain fed.

He said that they don’t feed scraps of vegetables and food or what is locally called “Washing” to the pigs, as it is not sanitary.

He said that the composition of these scraps is unknown, and since the meat is consumed by humans, it is best to grain-feed the pigs.

In addition to this breed of pigs, Joseph said that he hopes to expand and begin raring duroc pigs which are good for mainly bacon and ham.

In terms of slaughtering of the pigs, this he said is being done at the Abattoir at the moment but he hopes to initiate steps hopefully with the approval of the Ministry of Agriculture to establish one on his farm.

From our observations, Mr. Joseph’s farm appears to be well organized and heading for bigger and better things, but he noted that it wasn’t a smooth journey to get where he is today.

“It has been a challenge from day one (1). Everything done for the farm is out of pocket as getting loans and aid from the banks can be a challenge. Some Banks here do not quite understand what agriculture is about, they’re not that easily moved towards financing agriculture,” stated Mr. Joseph.

Mr. Joseph thinks that farmers too also need to step up their standards and approach farming as a business. Formulating a Business Plan and following it accordingly is a great way to start.

“If it is not treated as a business you will always run into problems,” stated Mr. Joseph. “It is something you can live on; it is something that you can live comfortably on but it just has to be treated as a business,” stated Mr. Joseph.

He also thinks that a lack of education in certain areas of farming operation is another reason why some of his colleagues encounter problems from time to time.

“Some persons are not educated to that level, so while they may want to, they don’t know how to go about it and to get the resources which is another difficulty,” stated Mr. Joseph.

He also appealed to the government to provide more training in areas like book keeping for farmers and this will help them to not only gain knowledge but adapt a different approach to farming to increase productivity and attract new markets.

Joseph also strongly urged farmers to protect their investment by investing in security equipment such as cameras and flood lights especially in deserted locations. He said he has gotten hit several times in the past by Praedial Larceny and at one time, thieves took off with nearly a thousand chickens. He said with security measures now in place at his farm, that’s a thing of the past.

“You cannot fully depend on the police because at the end of the day, it is your investment and you have a part to play as well,” stated Mr. Joseph

Joseph also thinks farmers need to invest in irrigation systems, as it can be a challenge for the government to provide each farmer with sufficient water.

“So invest in storage tanks, cisterns and even have ponds on your farm; in this way you can always have water with or without direct access to the government water service,” stated Mr. Joseph.