JBDC Business Dialogue Magazine Third Quarter / July - September 2016

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Third Quarter / July-September 2016

OPPORTUNITIES in Agriculture

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Third Quarter / July-September 2016

CONTENTS 5 Opportunities in Tourism Linkages


7 8-9 11

Opportunities in Agriculture


Business & Innovation Accessing opportunities in Tourism Linkages Nine Most Profitable Agricultural Business Ideas for Young Entrepreneurs

Centrespread Opportunities in Agriculture

Technology Global Shifts in Agriculture

JBDC News 13

JBDC’s “Proposal Writing Workshop” Accredited By UK Body, Heads To St. Lucia


Oh my Dressing


Springvale – Oh My Dressing (OMD) & More

The JBDC’s role along the value chain in the development of the agriculture sector is evident the moment one enters our Things Jamaican store. Whether the taste is sweet, savoury or spicy, the Things Jamaican customer will delight in the wide variety of locally produced spices, sauces, jams, jellies and other agro-processed items available on our shelves, as we take very seriously, the philosophy – ‘from farm to shelf’. We were pleased to have been invited by the Hon. Karl Samuda, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries to share the authentic flavours harvested from Jamaican soil and packaged at the recent sectoral presentation. Indeed, local MSMEs have been exceptionally innovative and creative in developing these products, many under the guidance of the experts in product development at the JBDC. While we have found a place for many of these producers on our shelves, there are still those who lack the capacity to take their ideas ‘from concept to market’. Consequently, clustering has become a major thrust of ours as we seek to turn transform their efforts into viable profit-making businesses contributing to the overall development of the economy. The ‘Jamaica Harvest’ brand, for example, was borne out of our interaction with several clients who came in with prototypes of a similar nature. Having seen the potential of clustering utilized in previous initiatives, we decided to apply the methodology to this group of persons and come up with a commercially viable product for the specialty foods market. This development comes at a time when people are looking for alternatives to traditional foods such as wheat flour. The overwhelmingly positive response to the market testing of a variety of flours made from breadfruit, pumpkin, plantain, sweet potato, banana and cassava, as well as granola cereals and bars made from yam and sweet potato is a signal that exciting times are ahead as we prepare to hit the shelves locally and overseas. Valerie Veira, J.P, CEO Jamaica Business Development Corporation

Suzette Campbell is a multi-award winning communications practitioner with 13 years’ experience spanning Public Relations, Journalism and Marketing in both public and private sector organizations. With a highly competitive spirit and creativity, she enjoys a good challenge and prides herself on leaving an indelible mark of success in her endeavours. Using her gift of writing, she hopes to win hearts and positively impact the lives of those on whose behalf she tells stories. Suzette is currently the Corporate Communications Manager at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation.

Sancia Campbell is a PR Practitioner in the business and hospitality sectors with over 13 years experience in marketing, publicity and communications. An excellent writer and avid lifestyle blogger, Sancia enjoys reading, project management and events planning. She is currently the PR & Events Coordinator at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).

Andre Heslop is the Public Relations Assistant at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation. He is a graduate of the University Of Technology, Jamaica and holds a BBA in Business Administration with a major in Marketing. He has worked in a range of capacities within the marketing field from Marketing Officer to Customer Care Representative and has extensive experience with customer relations. Mr. Heslop is also a managing partner of the emerging Social U Consultants company, a social media marketing firm.

Loren Ashley, Intern - JBDC

Third Quarter / July-September 2016


Opportunities for Tourism Linkages By Loren Ashley, Intern – Corporate Communications Unit

The Ministry of Tourism has always sought to foster the development and improvement of economically and environmentally viable connections between tourism and other productive sectors in the economy. Consequently, the Tourism Linkages Hub was formed in June 2013 by Cabinet decision. The main objective of this ongoing initiative is to generate more foreign exchange and create employment by pushing the consumption of local goods and services. The Tourism Linkages Council, also established in 2013, is comprised of several major private and public sector partners that oversee the activities of the Tourism Linkages Hub and supervise the execution of sustainable strategies to facilitate linkages. The Hub is the facilitator of several key activities. These include: the Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) Linkages Event, Christmas in July, Speed Networking, Tourism Demand Study and Agro-Tourism Farmers’ Markets. Firstly, the JAPEX Linkages Event takes place in the form of a trade fair in September. The trade fair is the result of collaboration among the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO). These companies together are instrumental in instigating the cooperation of local producers. JAPEX gives these local producers a forum to not only showcase their goods and services but it gives them a chance to meet potential buyers. Another key activity encouraged by the Hub is Christmas in July. Christmas in July is now an annual event since its inception last year. This event is the combined effort of JBDC, JMA, JAMPRO and JHTA. The goal is to provide a medium for local producers of souvenir items and corporate gift items to sell their products to select buyers from the tourism sector, corporate Jamaica, government entities, embassies, missions and international organizations. The third event that helps strengthen important tourism linkages is called Speed Networking. This event is spearheaded by the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association in close collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC). The event features 15 minute appointments between producers and buyers in the tourism sector. The aim of this is for the producers to secure business deals whilst allowing for buyers in the tourism sector to become aware of some of the unique local products Jamaica has to offer. Unlike the others before, the Tourism Demand Study is not an event but the product of the Ministry’s aim to increase market efficiency and awareness. This effort, funded by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), features extensive research that aims to evaluate the level of demand (both existing and potential) for products within the tourism sector as well as pinpoint areas where improvement is needed in the amount of Jamaican tourism linkages. Lastly, through the Tourism Linkages Hub, the Ministry of Tourism has provided support to Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA). This is done through the organisation of Agro-Tourism Farmers’

Markets in resort areas which also allows for linkages to be made between farmers and buyers from the tourism sector. Since the inception of the Agro-Tourism Farmers’ Markets, the Tourism Enhancement Fund has monetarily facilitated the hosting of the event in two key tourist areas: Negril and Montego Bay. In conclusion, it is extremely important to establish linkages between tourism and other productive sectors for the expansion and improvement of the Jamaican economy. Many efforts have been put in place by the Tourism Linkages Hub to facilitate this need. It is truly our hope that efforts will grow in success as the years pass.


Research Coaching for HR Practitioners and Middle Managers A Focus on Employee Engagement & Satisfaction October 4 – 6, 2016 . JBDC Incubator and Resource Centre . Kingston . Jamaica

Return on Investment: 1. Retain your employees and get your competitors’ 2. Get 110% out of employees 3. Grow productivity, improve revenue and sales! 4. Transform employees into lean-mean marketing machines! 5. Win over “actively disengaged” employees Testimonials: Excellent information on designing employee engagement and satisfaction surveys. This is a very good opportunity to improve employee satisfaction. All managers should be exposed to this information! HR Director, E-Gov It was very interactive and challenging. I continue to be impressed. - HR Manager, Lasco Manufacturing Ltd The presenters are very energized and knowledgeable… well structured and organized programme. - Ministry of Finance and Public Service


This course is accredited as a Development Course by the Institute of Leadership and Management, UK (ILM). ILM is the leading provider of leadership and management qualifications in the UK and part of the wider City and Guilds Group: a global leader in skills development.

Register Now! Jamaica Business Development Corporation 14 Camp Road, Kingston 4, Ja. W.I. Tele: 876-928-5161-5 t Email: jbdcpmrd@gmail.com t pmrd@jbdc.net t Website: www.jbdc.net

Third Quarter / July-September 2016

BUSINESS & INNOVATION Nine Most Profitable Agricultural Business Ideas for Young Entrepreneurs Source: http://www.insidermonkey.com/blog/11-most-profitable-agricultural-business-ideas-for-young-entrepreneurs-353898/ Edited by Sancia Campbell

If you are looking for opportunities in the agriculture industry, the most profitable agricultural business ideas for young entrepreneurs are some of the best options to choose from. Traditional agriculture might not sound too appealing to the youngsters of today, but the modern agriculture has diversified into many areas which make for lucrative avenues that just might be their thing. And, contrary to popular belief, agriculture is one of the most lucrative businesses which can also be a glamorous one. For starters the investment costs are generally low, and the payouts are decent. While, with organic farming coming into vogue, the opportunities have grown significantly. Agriculture might actually prove to be a way of life, away from the cut-throat competition and stressful corporate life, for the driven young Turks who aren’t afraid to tread the offbeat path. Intrigued? Here, check out the list of the most profitable agricultural business ideas for young entrepreneurs! Juices and Jams The Things Jamaican shelves at JBDC are replete with entrepreneurs who have tried their hand at Jams, Seasonings and Honey preparations. Producers include Dunsons, Sammi’s, Portland Jerk Producers, Baba Roots and Pearts. Homemade jams and seasonings are becoming more popular with the health consciousness on the rise among the population. And, with that the opportunities of earning a fortune by making and selling these products have increased too. And, if you have a knack for following recipes, this might be a piece of cake for you. Cashew Nut Processing Although cashews are one of the lowest-fibre nuts, they are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These include vitamins E, K, and B6, along with minerals like copper, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, iron, and selenium, all of which are important for maintaining good bodily function. Cashew nuts can be your key to a considerable fortune! They are expensive and in demand and with simple processing and packaging you can start selling them at a reasonable profit. Head to your local markets and farms to purchase raw cashews, and you can have the ball rolling in no time. Herbs and Flowers Again, herbs are one of the more popular products at our Things Jamaican stores. Herbs have a wide range of uses and have a wide market too. What’s better, they can be easily grown in small quantities and do not require great farming expertise. Similarly, growing flowers in the garden can be a great hobby and pastime along with being a great business opportunity. Florists are in great demand as flowers make for great gifts for several special occasions including Mothers’ Day, Valentine‘s Day, Birthdays, Graduations et. al. and if you love flowers yourself, this might just be your calling!

Mushroom Farming Mushroom farming is one of the most profitable agricultural business ideas for young entrepreneurs, which has a turnaround period of only three weeks. On top of that, consumption of mushrooms inhibits the growth of cancer cells and regulates blood pressure. In other words, it’s healthy. Mushroom has huge profit potential with demand for good quality and organic mushrooms being high among restaurant owners as well as households. Solar Drying of Fruits Recently, Things Jamaican introduced the Jamaica Harvest line of the products and among them were sun dried fruits including Pineapple and Naseberry. Not only were they tasty, this method of food packaging provided a source of income for the ingenious entrepreneur who came up with the idea. Solar drying might be an offbeat venture in modern times, but it has actually been around for hundreds of years. Sun drying of fruits and vegetables helps to preserve their nutritional value and has a wide range of uses in making soups and stews or even just as snacks. And, with the employment of modern techniques and a simple sun dryer, it is now easier than ever. Exports Little more enterprising youngsters can try their hand at packaging and exportation of agriculture produce. Demand for agricultural products is rising internationally with people being open to exploring and trying out exotic fruits and vegetables. Find out what the stipulations are for exporting from your country to the targeted destination. Also, identify what fruits and produce are in demand, examine your ability to deliver and make it happen. Spices Production Jamaica has some of the most potent spices in the world and they are filled with health benefits. Spices are expensive and always in demand, and hence the profits that can flow from them are quite attractive. Also, organic and homemade fresh spices are increasingly being considered by people as an alternative to packaged and manufactured ones. Livestock Feed One can choose to cater to the agricultural sector by producing livestock feed for farms. As agriculture is being recognized as a lucrative sector, and more farms are coming up by the day, the demand for livestock feed is also rising. Leasing of Agriculture Equipment Yet another way you can cater to the ever-growing needs of the agriculture industry is by leasing out agricultural equipment. This way one does not have to directly engage in agriculture business and still reap benefits from the growing industry by investing in farm equipment. With definitive gains and little hard work, it definitely is one of the most profitable agriculture business ideas for young entrepreneurs.


Third Quarter / July-September 2016


by Suzette C

The days when farming was stereotyped to be the job of an uneducated or unemployable person from the country, toiling away in the boiling sun with very little gains are long gone. Increasingly, persons are discovering the immense benefit of owning a piece of Jamaica and transforming it into a profit-making venture, essentially putting the sexy that entrepreneurship has become, on the farm. Still, the country has much work to do in closing the gap between local production and importation, prompting policy makers to promote the opportunities and immense value in agriculture as a business. Cassava In his 2016 sectoral presentation, the Hon. Karl Samuda, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries implored the nation to embrace new opportunities being created in the agro-industries. “We are also excited about the Import Substitution Programme in respect to substituting cassava in place of barley in the Red Stripe beer formulation. So far, the Government has provided 286 acres of land to Red Stripe from which they have produced cassava to effect a 5% substitution of cassava in their local brew. Their stated intent is to ramp that up by 10% by the end of 2016. In this regard, the Government will be providing another 250 acres to Red Stripe. Simultaneously, we will be mobilizing our farmers in the agro parks to produce cassava for Red Stripe in order to assist that company to achieve its overall target of 2,500 acres,” he said. Onions & Irish Potatoes In highlighting some other opportunities, the Minister pointed to the self-sufficiency programme undertaken in the Ministry over the last six years in respect of satisfying total domestic consumption of select crops, including Irish potatoes and onions. “In


respect to Irish potatoes we achieved approximately 90% self-sufficiency last year. This was impacted by the drought, and with good weather we would have easily achieved the 100% target. The Onion Development Programme started in 2013 when we were satisfying a mere 7% through local production. At the end of 2015, we have moved this up to 12.6% through a 68% increase in onion production in 2015 over 2014, despite the drought. We are well on our way to achieve the 20% target for 2016, and 40% in the medium term,” he said. The 2011 publication, Investing in Jamaica’s Agricultural Industries, makes a case for investment in onion production by noting that at a minimum, the country is seeking to replace at least 70% of onion imports with local production. Based on this fact, there is a significant investment opportunity for producing onions in Jamaica. Why invest in onion production? Government’s thrust to decrease onion imports creates a lucrative opportunity for production for the local market. Investors also have the option to export to international markets such as Russia and Canada. Opportunities also exist along the value chain such as storage and distribution. The estimated return on investment is 42%. The publication point out that Jamaica’s tropical climate is ideal for growing Irish potatoes. Some five parishes including Manchester, Westmoreland, Trelawny, St. Catherine and Clarendon are excellent locations due to the higher elevation of these regions, or the cool night time temperatures in the lower areas. Irish potatoes however, can be produced island wide. Jamaican Irish potato also has a superior taste compared to the ones that are imported. The calculated return on investment is 97%. Cocoa & Coffee According to the 2011 publication, coffee is the third most popular drink in the world, behind water and tea. As a world commodity, it is second only to oil in the global commodities trade. Jamaican coffee is world renowned for its excellent quality and has enjoyed premium status among coffee connoisseurs for over two hundred and fifty years. Despite this, Jamaica’s coffee accounted for 0.00015% of the world

in Agriculture


coffee trade. Why invest in coffee? Jamaican coffee commands a high price internationally. There are significant opportunities for private entrepreneurs who can invest in the value added coffee. The niche market for flavoured coffee is an emerging market that is showing positive growth. Flash forward to 2016 and Minister Samuda had encouraging news for the industry. “Thanks to the privatization of Mavis Bank and Wallenford Coffee companies we have seen new investments in the coffee industry, translating into a significant increase in coffee production of approximately 26.8% in 2015. Coffee farmers have seen record prices per box and the Government will shortly implement a cess on imported coffee, to be in line with the existing cess on local coffee. The proceeds from this cess are to be used to support the expansion of coffee production through infrastructure, disease control and other public goods,” he said. The seeds of cocoa beans constitute the main ingredient of chocolate. The publication points out that Jamaica’s cocoa is recognized worldwide as a premium product based on its distinct flavour and quality. Jamaica is one of a small number of producer countries in the Western Hemisphere that export what the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) calls “fine flavoured cocoa”. This is cocoa that constitutes the base for almost all high-end chocolate sold in the world, and Jamaica has the distinction of being among the eight exclusive producers. Why invest in cocoa? There are significant opportunities for chocolate manufacturers. Jamaica’s cocoa fetches a high price on the world market. There is high international demand for cocoa, presenting an opportunity with tremendous growth potential for investors. The expected return on investment from cocoa is high. Minister Samuda told that the parliament that it is the government’s hope and expectation that the divestment of Government’s cocoa assets and the deregulation of cocoa exports that will come on board under the proposed Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Authority (JACRA)Act will similarly stimulate an increase in cocoa production.

Other crops Turmeric, ginger, yam, rice and pineapple are highlighted as in demand of the export market. Pineapple production is an area with significant potential ranging from fresh and organic pineapple to value added products including dried pineapple slices, wedges for toppings, tit bits, juice concentrates and other by products that have attractive local and external markets. The estimated return on pineapple investment is 109%. Should you decide to invest in turmeric, you could enjoy a whopping 164% return on investment. Livestock The Minister’s says it is the government’s intention to place a renewed focus on some critical components of the livestock subsector, with particular focus on milk production. But have you ever thought of rearing sheep? According to the publication, the demand for mutton/lamb locally is significantly greater than the supply. Average imports of mutton and lamb between 2006 and 2010 stood at 4,300 tonnes valuing an average of US$10.8m annually. Why invest in sheep production? Low infrastructure build-out required. Jamaica has a captive market evidenced by increasing imports of significant quantities of mutton annually. Opportunities in high-end markets through specialized cuts and other value added products. The calculated return on investment is 28%. Producing more sheep in Jamaica will also result in foreign exchange savings. Looking for a new business venture with huge investment potential? Why not invest in a piece of Jamaica? Grow what you eat. Eat what you grow. And sell it!




DATE NOVEMBER 14-19, 2016

Third Quarter / July-September 2016


GLOBAL SHIFTS IN AGRICULTURE By Christina Tamer, Marketing and Research Manager at Invested Development

INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY There is a lot of innovation in the mobile/IT and energy spaces that have the potential to make a huge impact on the farm. For example, smart power systems, precision agriculture tools, farm management software, and affordable sensors are all within reach of even the smallest farmers today. From Nairobi to San Francisco and from Tallin to Sydney, entrepreneurs are taking advantage of new technology that makes these products possible. We see potential in radio frequency technologies (RFID, NFC, Bluetooth), the Internet of Things and the big data that comes along with it, as well as in clean technology advances from ambient energy, to waste-to-energy, to renewable sources. Ultimately, we think that all of these technologies, when deployed effectively, will work towards achieving the following long-term objectives. LONG-TERM OBJECTIVES

Projections show that there will be 9 billion people in the world by 2050. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that we need a 70% increase in food production from 2005 levels to feed all those people, and we have to grow, harvest, distribute, and consume our food more efficiently. Our growing population is becoming increasingly urban: the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 7 out of 10 people will live in a city by 2050. We’re not gaining additional resources like land or water, nor are we gaining more farmers. As economies continue to develop, the percentage of the people employed in the agricultural sector declines. In general, a 1% increase in GDP leads to a .052 decrease in the percentage of people employed in agriculture, controlling for growth in the labour force. The regions that will have the largest population gains, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, also have the highest percentage of their population working in agriculture today: 60% and 50%, respectively. This is bound to decline dramatically as their economies progress. To put this in perspective, less than 2% of the U.S. population is employed in agriculture. It was above 50% in the mid-1800s. A shift to decentralized production models and increasing consumer conscientiousness are positive signs that we can make our food supply chain more efficient. We’re starting to become more aware of how our consumer choices and policies affect the environment, our food, and the labourers who produce the food we buy. Still, this conscientiousness demands technology, tools, and innovation to inform smart and sustainable choices.

Efficient farm management and resource efficiency – As mentioned earlier, a declining percentage of farmers in the world have to produce more for a growing population. Fortunately, advances in technology can have significant impact, as did irrigation systems, tractors, and other mechanical innovations in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Further, a “whole farm approach” optimizes the farmer’s efficiency, including use of water, waste, soil, energy, and most importantly, time. Precision agriculture technologies, for example, can optimize fertilizer applications, saving time and money by creating a more productive field. Traceability – You’ve heard of the horse meat scandal and countless other food recalls. People want and need to know what’s in their food and where it comes from. This requires tools and processes that manage and monitor the flow of inputs. This would improve efficiency, product differentiation, food safety, and product quality. Further, traceability and transparency in the food supply benefits the farmer in the long run, by opening up opportunities to access credit and markets. Supply chain efficiency – A third of the food produced annually is wasted. In the U.S., most of the food is wasted at the consumption stage. In Sub-Saharan Africa, food is wasted before it even reaches the consumer. Whatever way you look at it, the supply chain needs to become more efficient. WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? We’re keeping our eyes open for opportunities in the ag tech space. We’re looking for startups offering technologies that can: • Increase farmer profitability, productivity, and efficiency. • Improve farmer, animal, and consumer livelihood with better work environments, food safety, and food security • Protect the planet and its finite resources.




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by Suzette Campbell

As an ILM Recognised Provider, the JBDC now approved to register learners and deliver ILM programmes in Jamaica and St Lucia. JBDC’s Project Management and Research Manager, Lisa Taylor-Stone says Workshop participants will benefit immensely from the ILM accreditation. “It means the participants who have fully completed the process can receive a certificate not only from the JBDC, but also a UK awarding organisation which will appear very impressive on a list of professional qualifications. Additionally, they will receive 12 months free ILM Studying Membership, free ongoing ILM Tutor Membership, as well as professional development credits,” she explained. Taylor-Stone says the JBDC underwent rigorous scrutiny by ILM in order to achieve the recognition. “They were very keen on the caliber of the organization, the course content, as well as the marketing of the course in order to be satisfied with the brand association, so we were elated when we received the call that approval had been granted. We anticipate heightened interest in the course due to the accreditation, as there are some individuals and organisations who will not participate unless a course is accredited,” she said. The ‘Tapping into Donor Funds’ - Proposal Writing Workshop® series is an intervention geared towards increasing and enhancing the capacity of participants to develop high-potential proposals to solicit funding assistance for business, technical and developmental purposes. The initiative was borne out of the recognition of the financial challenges being faced by organizations and groups, which prevent them from enhancing and growing their businesses or ventures. The methodology that guides the implementation of the Workshop comprises: 20 hours of learning delivered over three days and eight (8) hours of post-workshop coaching and mentoring delivered over two weeks. To date, more than 250 participants representing SMEs, public sector entities and social groups have been trained and over J$76 million has been awarded in funding to Workshop participants. The Jamaica Business Development Corporation’s (JBDC) critically acclaimed Tapping into Donor Funds Proposal Writing Workshop® scored two major achievements during the month of June having been officially trademarked by the Jamaica Intellectual Property Organization (JIPO) and accredited by UK-based awarding body, Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM). ILM is the leading provider of leadership and management qualifications in the UK and part of the wider City and Guilds Group: a global leader in skills development. The achievement came just ahead of the Workshop’s eighth staging in Jamaica on July 26 – 28, 2016.

St. Lucia The JBDC is seeking to conquer new territory. “Having achieved this feat, we believe it is imperative that we expand this intervention regionally, so that our Caribbean neighbours can reap success in accessing financing, which is a global challenge. We are heading to Castries, St. Lucia for the first staging of the Workshop outside of Jamaica on November 22 – 24, 2016. These are exciting times and the team is working feverishly to ensure that we deliver above expectations in St. Lucia,” said Taylor-Stone. The ‘Research Coaching for HR Practitioners Workshop’ was also accredited by ILM.




Springvale – Oh My Dressing(OMD) & More by Andre Heslop

Agriculture has been at the base of the Jamaican economy for decades. Jamaica’s agricultural sector boasts the best produce in the world in bananas, sugar cane and coffee, among many other resources. But as with any type of production there is always residual or a glut of produce. Ingenious as Jamaicans are, we created another aspect of agriculture called agro-processing. Agro-processing refers to the subset of manufacturing that processes raw materials and intermediate products derived from the agricultural sector transforming them into some other finished or semi-finished product. This is the trend that Sankhard Co. Limited, producers of Oh My Dressing has been embracing for the past four years. Chief Executive Officer and co-founder, Sandra McLeish has always had a passion for the farm which she inherited from her parents who also owned and operated a large farm in Fruitful Vale, Portland which supplied many supermarkets across the island. Though she possesses a degree in Marine Ecology and a Masters in Project Management, her passion for the soil only grew stronger prompting her to purchase her own piece of land in Fruitful Vale. The Springvale journey started when a visitor stopped by her home and was being treated to dinner. As she is vegetarian, the visitor was not looking forward to the typical French, Thousand Island or Italian dressing that they were all too familiar with. Sandra did not disappoint. Using her creativity and quick thinking, she whipped up a batch of Sorrel Vinaigrette and sprinkled over a salad to her visitor’s delight. Immediately recognizing the gap in the market for locally made condiments such as dressings and vinaigrettes and realizing the abundance of fruits in and around her surroundings, Sandra and her husband conceptualized the Springvale brand. The line of products includes a new and Jamaican-inspired set of condiments utilizing local Jamaican ingredients: pumpkin ketchups, chutneys, vinaigrettes and salad dressings. The vinaigrette boasts fruit flavours such as Guava, Sorrel, Mango, Otaheite apple and June Plum, while the salad dressings consist of fruit flavours infused with herbs. Though her co-founder and husband Richard McLeish has a background in chemical engineering and had the ability to create and formulate recipes, the team lacked the technical and business know-how and sought assistance and guidance from the Jamaica Business Development Corporation. Through their relationship with the Corporation, they have received mentorship, training in various business areas and technical design assistance to realize their business dreams.


The company has grown significantly over the four years. So much so, that they were selected as one of National Bakery's Bold Ones: New Champions of Manufacturing awardees in January 2014. Mrs. McLeish explained that many hurdles were faced but that financing and working capital was the most difficult. However, the journey though challenging and competitive has conversely been one of her most rewarding life experiences. “The foundation that I have been able to lay, the ability to give back and the impact being made in and around my immediate community is priceless,” she beams.