All set! Planting begins on medicinal hemp farm in Trelawny

Ground was broken on Organic Growth Holdings Incorporated’s craft medicinal hemp farm at Long Pond Estate in Trelawny, on Wednesday (Dec 11).

Organic Growth Holdings Incorporated,  which trades locally as OGH Grow Jamaica (OGH), has leased the 635-acre property to grow medicinal hemp, which will be used in the manufacture of a number of organic wellness products.

Workers plant hemp at Organic Growth Holdings Incorporated’s craft medicinal hemp farm at Long Pond Estate in Trelawny. (Photo: Serena Grant/JIS)

The cannabidiol (CBD)-infused products will be made at their processing facilities, also located on the property.

OGH intends to rejuvenate and remonetise sugar-cane lands by transforming them into fertile multi-cropping lands.                                   

“Some 4,000 acres of these lands will be available to small farmers in this area”

— Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, during the ground-breaking ceremony, noted that the organisation will also make provision for land in the area to be used by small farmers in neighbouring communities.

“We are not leaving out the small farmers.  Some 4,000 acres of these lands will be available to small farmers in this area who want to go and produce things on their own,” Mr Shaw informed.

Audley Shaw (right); and President of JAMPRO, Diane Edwards (centre), examine seedlings during a tour of Organic Growth Holdings Incorporated’s (OGH’s) craft medicinal hemp farm nursery, at the Long Pond Estate in Trelawny, on December 11. At left is Co–Founder and President of OGH Grow Jamaica, Robert Weinstein. (Photo: Serena Grant/JIS)

He encouraged farmers in the area to apply for their plot of land through the Sugar Company Holdings of Jamaica, adding that assistance will be provided to help farmers reap and process their crops.

Meanwhile, Mr Shaw welcomed OGH’s medicinal hemp project for its potential “environmental impact and its potential for wealth creation”.

“Unlike some other crops, hemp cultivation requires little or no pesticides, produces oxygen, and exhibits zero topsoil erosion.”

— Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw

He noted that hemp is a fast-growing plant which is capable of being harvested within four months.  This, he outlined, will provide the opportunity for several crops to be reaped within a year, which will facilitate faster growth of the industry.

“The cultivation of hemp is considered to be very environmentally friendly. Unlike some other crops, hemp cultivation requires little or no pesticides, produces oxygen, and exhibits zero topsoil erosion. Hemp often requires less post-harvest industrial processing, which significantly lessens overall environmental impact,” he noted.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw (second right), does the ceremonial breaking of ground to signal the official opening of Organic Growth Holdings Incorporated’s (OGH’s) craft medicinal hemp farm at Long Pond Estate, Trelawny, on Wednesday (December 11). Also joining the Minister are (from left) Managing Director of OGH Grow Jamaica, Mitchel Yeckes; Co-Founder and President of OGH Grow Jamaica, Robert Weinstein; and Vice President of OGH Grow Jamaica, Shawn Rogers. (Photo: Serena Grant/JIS)

For his part, Managing Director of OGH Grow Jamaica, Mitchel Yeckes, thanked the local authorities for their assistance in getting the project off the ground.

He said the company is on a thrust to ensure that Jamaica takes its rightful place as the world leader in CBD production.

OGH uses feminised seeds for cultivation, and its growing processes are entirely non-invasive.           

The company plans to begin exporting its line of CBD wellness products in 2020, and to have products in hotel gift shops, spas and pharmacies islandwide by the second quarter of next year.

At least 30 persons from surrounding communities have been employed to the OGH’s facility since the lease was granted for the property in June of this year.

An investment of US$4 million was used to undertake the project.

— JIS (Serena Grant)