Former Long Pond cane lands in Trelawny are now being put to another use. Ground was officially broken on Wednesday for a medicianl hemp farm in Clark’s Town, Trelawny.
From the JIS
Ground was broken on Organic Growth Holdings Incorporated’s craft medicinal hemp farm at Long Pond Estate in Trelawny, on Wednesday (December 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.
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 multicropping lands.
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.
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”.
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 top soil erosion. Hemp often requires less post-harvest industrial processing, which significantly lessens overall environmental impact,” he noted.
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. Source.
AMERICANS BEHIND OGH
From the Observer: OGH Jamaica principals are mainly foreigners, namely co-founder and OGH President Robert Weinstein; Mitchel Yeckes, OGH, managing director, and Charles Hardesty, a director of the company. Interestingly they also share the same title in the holding company OGH Inc.
In addition to these three principals, it is understood that a number of overseas investors, some connected to the directors, have also invested sums of money on the project.
Speaking in an interview with the Caribbean Business Report at the ground-breaking ceremony Weinstein admitted that another connected company that is involved with the project. He explained that the initial feminine hemp seeds for planting have been sourced from this company, which operates out of the US and is associated with one of his partners.
The company in question he said has an operation in Oregon, USA, growing feminine hemp seeds. Referring to the hemp seeds for Jamaica, Weinstein added, ”So the feminine seeds hemp have already been grown—six generations of them.”
Weinstein told the Caribbean Business Report that the seeds have already been shipped to Jamaica and have been certified by the Plant Quarantine Division with the Cannabis Licensing Authority already giving the go-ahead for the seeds to be grown initially in the greenhouse and then grown in the fields to extract the CDB oils. Source.