Avocado & Castor Bean Farms Flourishing in Browns Town, Jamaica
Updated: Sep 20
COVID-19 has resulted in a delay. However, Athlone and his team are on track for this project to be a major contributor to financial self reliance of the Jamaica Methodist District. We are so excited to hear that Operation Crop is flourishing in Browns Town, Jamaica!
Rev. Athlone Harris at "Egypt Farm" February 2020. Browns Town, Jamaica.
"Egypt" is a 101 acre property in Browns Town, St. Ann owned by the Jamaica Methodist District. In September 2010 Rev. Athlone Harrison was assigned to the Browns Town and Edmondson Circuit with an expectation that he would use his knowledge of farming to develop the property as an income-generating project for the District.
12 acres are utilized by the Church-owned, York Castle High School, 3 acres occupied by the Minister's residence. A plan was made to establish an avocado farm as the first project and in 2011, with the help of an OCM mission team, the project got underway. With their help, a total of 15 acres is now planted with 10 acres in production. Reaping began in 2016 and it is expected that the church will start to earn, by way of profit, starting in the 2021 crop year.
We are expecting to reap approx. 30,000 fruit this crop (Aug. - Oct. 2020) and at peak in the next few years we are expecting to be reaping in excess of 150,000 fruit per crop. Rev. Athlone Harrison
Castor Bean Planting
Since the life span of an avocado tree is about 50 years, this will be earning for the church in many years to come, with proper management. The second farming project started in December 2018 with the planting of 3 acres of castor beans. We are currently at 7 acres and hoping to establish 15 acres by December 2021.
Castor bean is a quicker bearing crop than avocado ( the trees don't last for a much shorter time ) and we started reaping in 2019. The first set of seeds produced was used for expanding the acrage and the first commercially produced beans ( 200 lbs ) were reaped and processed in January to April 2020.
Currently reaping again and expecting a yield of about 1000lbs of beans. The hulling of the beans is a difficult process by hand. With the help of OC Ministries country director Rev. Rick Ormbsy, a castor bean shelling machine is being acquired. The next piece of equipment needed is a Castor Oil pressing machine.
The hope is to be producing 100 gallons of oil annually by 2022, about US$100,000.00!
The plan also includes a sub division of 13 acres into housing lots and approval by the relevant government authorities should be received later this year.