Jermaine Black was still enrolled at Ewarton High School in St. Catherine when he fell in love with agriculture, partly because his step-father was engrossed in the profession.
When his step-dad decided to sell his goats and quit, Jermaine acquired his first goat.
His herd gradually increased.
But agriculture sometimes has setbacks.
Jermaine told The Beacon that he suffered a major blow within the last few weeks when thieves took 10 of his goats, which are valued at a total $183,000.
He explained that the thieves made off with eight of the animals on April 2, and two others on Sunday, May 17.
“Right now, I am so weak inside; I am just trying to get some strength to continue,” he said, adding: “I a very heart-broken because I started from one goat.”
The 29-year-old stated that, despite his loss, he is not giving up on his passion.
“The only time I will give up farming is when I die,” he said, noting that he is a registered farmer with the state-owned Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).
Jermaine explained that he opted to become a full-fledged farmer after he faced major challenges in acquiring employment.
He, at one point, got a job with China Harbour Engineering Company when the firm was building the Edward Seaga Highway, which passes through the Treadways and Wakefield areas of Linstead.
“I wasn’t satisfied with the situation. I would go to work today; tomorrow was not sure. So, I stop and say to myself that it is best if mi goh duh farming,” Jermaine said. “I don’t need a next work now. Farming is all I need to do. I really love animals and plants. They motivate me the most.”
Jermaine has resorted to diversification.
In addition to raising goats, he now plants a variety of crops, including plantain, sweet peppers, and pineapple.
Jermaine told The Beacon that the protracted dry season has been giving him and other farmers a tough time.
“I planted more than 700 roots of tomato, but the drought is on them and water hardly comes in the pipe and there is no rain. So, I don’t even pick 20 pounds from the tomatoes,” he lamented.
In light of the chronic water shortage affecting Jermaine and other farmers in the Charlemont Farm Scheme area, the youngster is appealing for Government to intervene.
He suggested that an agreement be sought with the management of West Indies Alumina Company (WINDALCO), which is located near the agricultural area.
“I wish the government could come together with the bauxite company and give us permanent water to help with farming, because I am not the only farmer here, and we produce good crops,” Jermaine posited.
He, in the meantime, implored the thieves to give him and the other hardworking farmers a break and to start earning their honest bread.
By Horace Mills, Journalist
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