Of the 14 children born to his parents, Howard Mahoney is the only one who has followed in his father’s footsteps to become a farmer.
“Mi jus love farming; mi like farming; farming is just like a habit to me,” he told The Beacon.
Howard, whose farm is located at Lluidas Vale district in St. Catherine, is convinced that he has green thumbs – as is evident in the quality of the crops he reaps.
“Mi lucky wid farming,” he declared. “Anything mi put mi hand pon in farming, mi lucky with it. Mi have ram goat – even dem pretty same way.”
Howard grows several crops – including plantains, broad beans, pineapples, cassava, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins.
He said his pumpkins, for example, are relatively large – each weighing an average 30 pounds.
“Only one pumpkin mi can manage to carry down from the farm each day,” he noted. “When mi coming down from the farm and walk through the community with a pumpkin, people haffi seh: ‘wow; what a pumpkin big’!”
Howard explained that he sometimes reaps the pumpkins before they become fully mature. He then stores them – sometimes for months, until he is likely to fetch relatively high prices during times of scarcity.
“Pumpkin a goh scarce next month and December. That time, I know I will have a market fi dem,” he added.
Howard said the price per pound of pumpkin ranges from $50 to a high of $100 when the crop becomes scarce.
He told The Beacon that he sells a portion of his crops to vendors at Linstead Market in St. Catherine.
One of his sisters facilitates a market for the pineapples, and a bammy maker in the Charlemont area of Linstead buys his cassava – sometimes up to 600 pounds, at $30 per pound.
Howard, who is not yet a father, stated that farming has enabled him to earn his honest bread.
He has absolutely no intention to quit now. In fact, he is seeking more land to expand his cassava production.
Howard, who previously worked at Worthy Park Sugar Estate in Lluidas Vale, started farming after completing studies at Lluidas Vale Primary School and Juan de-Bolas Primary School – both in St. Catherine.
He has been a farmer now for 30 years.
“Mi nah stop duh farming,” Howard declared, while lamenting that majority of young people in Lluidas Vale are not interested in agriculture.
He said he does not face praedial larceny and other major obstacles that beset some farmers on the island.
By Horace Mills, Journalist
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