In a significant stride towards community-based economic development, Eggpress Farms, a local farming and agro-processing business in Highgate, has joined forces with the Social Development Commission (SDC) through its Local Economic Development Support Programme. The collaboration aims to propel the growth of Eggpress Farms, creating a ripple effect of positive change within the community.
Eggpress Farms, nestled in the heart of Highgate, Dean Pen District, currently employs six community members. The farming venture, which focuses on organic produce and healthy lifestyle products, envisions providing international-standard goods and services that enhance customers’ well-being. Through farming and agro-processing, Eggpress Farms supplies organic fruits, vegetables, and ground provisions, fostering a commitment to environmentally friendly practices and world-class packaging.
Expressing gratitude for the partnership with the SDC, Ms. Marvalee Tomlinson Russell, the owner of Eggpress Farms emphasized the positive impact on the community. “Working with the Social Development Commission has been a game-changer for us. Their support has not only helped us grow our small business but has also allowed us to contribute to the well-being of our community members. We are thankful for the guidance and resources provided by the SDC, which have enabled us to reach new heights.”
Eggpress Farms, a registered local economic initiative (LEI) with the SDC, kicked off its venture with a clear vision of providing international-standard products and services that contribute to a healthier society. The mission involves demonstrating the value of good nutrition and its impact on individual health and wellness through organic farming and natural herbal blends.
The agro-processing business faces challenges, including the lack of funding, but with the support of the SDC’s Local Economic Development Support Programme, Eggpress Farms is on the path to overcoming these hurdles. Through the SDC’s Grant Facility, Eggpress Farms was able to secure over six hundred thousand dollars to procure vital equipment and inputs for business expansion. “ thanks to the Government of Jamaica through the SDC we received grant funding to purchase well needed equipment and marketing material to help grow our business. We secured a Cocoa grinder, an industrial blender, a generator, uniforms and banners to help promote our business.”
The partnership with the SDC has also facilitated income earning for the business through its business opportunity activities implemented by the Commission such as; Agro fest, Business Fairs, Community markets and Economic Villages.
Since its registration with SDC, the business has received product certification from Scientific Research Council (SRC) and Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) which affords the venture the opportunity to export. The business is currently exporting one of its Tonic Wines, “Jackhammer” to Antigua and hopes to expand to other Caribbean territories in the near future.
The objectives of the venture include establishing an agro-processing business that provides employment opportunities for the vulnerable while promoting community development.
Among the needs identified by Eggpress Farms are retrofitting factory space to international standards, market research, capacity-building sessions, the transition to solar energy, modern equipment, a website and an online store, a proper accounting system, expansion into the export market, and obtaining FDA certification. The venture also aims to acquire a pickup truck and an enclosed truck to streamline its operations.
The collaboration between Eggpress Farms and the Social Development Commission stands as a testament to the potential of local economic initiatives in driving positive change within communities. As Eggpress Farms works towards its objectives, the partnership with the SDC serves as a beacon of hope for other local entrepreneurs aiming to make a difference in the economic landscape of Highgate Proper and beyond.