The management of HMH Farms in Bushy Park, St Catherine, is looking to capitalise on the domestic demand for goat meat and quality animal stock.
The farm specialises in livestock, genetic goat meat, and tabletop eggs.
Managing director Hjort Henry is cognisant of Jamaica’s importation pattern and, as such, is intent on repositioning his operations as the solution to boosting the 15 to 20 per cent of goat meat produced locally for domestic consumption.
“We hope to help close the gap in the country’s importation bill of goat meat and food items such as eggs and broiler chicken”, said Henry.
Henry recently copped the 2022 Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) Building Opportunities for Strong Success (BOSS) Man of the Year Award.
He said winning the award is a major achievement, not just for him but the business in general.
“Winning this award really gives me validation for my journey, HMH Farms and for persons who are looking to do business with us. It also offers to our customers that added assurance that the person behind the business is competent,” Henry stated.
The farm, which occupies four acres of land, has approximately 1,000 chickens and 54 goats that supply eggs and meat to other local businesses.
Genetic goats are also reared and sold to other farmers looking to improve their breed stock or herd quality.
Despite Henry being on a mission to achieve significant outcomes, his foray into entrepreneurship was born out of a need to create a passive income.
Beginning in 2019, just before the onset of COVID-19, his greatest concern with the then-newly established business was the pandemic’s restriction of movement.
Henry said COVID-19 shifted many persons’ perspectives, “and forced us to realise that food security is essential and that we need to focus more on agriculture and consuming foods from farm to plate”.
“I actually found that more persons were interested in getting something directly from the farm because they were unable to go to the supermarket or wholesale, either because of the restricted movements or the fear of the pandemic itself,” he pointed out, noting that he, too, was affected by the pandemic.
Consequently, Henry said he “took a positive spin on it [and] started the farm”.
HMH Farms had the good fortune of having the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) Accelerator Programme to offer additional guidance throughout the initial months of the operation.
Launched in 2017, the six-month intensive programme aims to provide businesses with access to finance, and allows participants to benefit from training, mentorship, networking, increased sales, business growth, and financing opportunities.
Henry said, “throughout the accelerator programme, we had to complete a series of deep-dive business assessments, make presentations to board members, [undertake] assessment of numbers, [as well as] increase in operational capacity, increase in production, increase in sales, and proper structure and governance”.
He added that there were also persons who came on board to access their businesses and highlight areas for improvement.
Notwithstanding the challenges, Henry and his three-member staff were able to stay the course.
While entrepreneurship has its ups and downs, said he enjoys most about the journey, is being able to bring his idea to life, which has created employment for others.
On the downside, he shares that “the journey can be quite lonely”.
“You are accountable for every decision which may or may not work out in your favour, and you must live with and, hopefully, learn from that decision,” he said.
Henry recounted that in the earlier stages of the operations, it was difficult to measure the success of the business based on profitability.
But as time progressed, he documented the milestones that needed to be reached, prayed over them, and formed a support system of close family and friends to help him achieve each.
“When we acquired the land, it was four acres of bush. So, we had to put in a road, light, water, and a bridge to get onto the land. As we went along, we created a to-do list for each task that needed to be accomplished and that was how we measured the growth and success of the business,” Henry shared.
To this end, Henry encourages new business owners to develop a plan or a goal and document this.
“By putting it on paper, you’re taking it out of your head and bringing it to life. Once on the paper, pray over it and form a strong support team, and then break down the plan into small steps and just take your time and go at it,” he said.