Businessman Gassan Azan has described his Lakes Pen high-tech agricultural venture as a potential game changer for both the individual household consumer as well as for the agro-processing industry.
The venture is to be rolled out across several phases, beginning with a 100-acre farm that will comprise 20 acres of greenhouse facilities for the production of a range of vegetables, 50 acres for orchards, and the remaining area dedicated to open air cultivation. Subsequent phases will expand the undertaking to approximately 400 acres.
A release sent said that Azan, while speaking at the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) ‘Conversations at Breakfast’ held at Knutsford Court Hotel on Thursday, said that for the Lakes Pen project, his design aims to incorporate industry best practices and will meet world-class standards to facilitate access to potential export markets.
“A significant portion of the venture’s output will be marketed through the MegaMart chain. The tourism sector is also being targeted, with the objective of reducing the imports of agricultural products consumed in the nation’s hotels,” he said.
The project, Azan went on to disclose, could “potentially include the establishment of a modern, fresh produce market. Initial investment in the venture will amount to approximately $9 billion, with additional billions earmarked for its later phases”.
“It is estimated that more than 1,000 persons, including highly skilled Jamaican professionals, will be employed in the venture. The venture will also function as a mother farm through the development of a network of certified small farmers who will be contracted to produce according to the highest marketplace standards,” the release also stated.