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Honey, chocolate, pimento

Oran Davidson expanding family's farming business

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Oran Davidson became a bee farmer six years ago while he was in high school at Cornwall College.

The lot fell to him when his father passed away, but it was not uncharted territory.

“My introduction to agriculture and apiculture started when I was around 10. Growing up with my parents I learnt many lessons about the business world and that was enough to fuel my dream of owning and operating my own business,” Davidson shared.

Today he is the proud owner of Davidson's Imperial, a company that he has been able to expand through his involvement with the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), and the 4H Club.

From the hills of Maryland in Hanover, 22-year-old Davidson produces, packages and distributes his own line of honey, chocolate and pimento.

The young man spent most of childhood learning bee production from his father, and chocolate-making from his mother. Each morning Oran and his father journeyed to the family farm, which featured yam, banana and other ground provisions, and the young man ended the day on his father's bee farm.

While balancing school and his father's business, Davidson developed a business plan, which involved renaming the venture Davidson's Imperial, and expanding his offerings to include chocolate and pimento.

He shared the reason for getting into chocolate production.

“I started chocolate production because while growing up it was my favourite thing to use and make tea; my grandmother and my mom usually made it for my sister and me. After realising the difficulty of making the chocolate —having to beat the cocoa in the mortar for hours — I decided to get a cocoa grinder to make her life easier. I've never seen such product on the market and knowing the history of grandma's chocolate, I decided to get it on the market,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

Upon completing secondary education, Davidson enrolled in the Rural Youth Economic Empowerment Programme, an entrepreneurial training programme established by the 4H Club in partnership with HEART Trust/NTA. Subsequent to completing that programme, Oran received a grant from the 4H Club which assisted with purchasing equipment to make his chocolate. Before acquiring the equipment, Oran and his mother pound cocoa beans in a wooden mortar with apestle.

For his bee production, Davidson leases lands in Little London, Llandilo, Burnt Savannah, and Ramble. He and his staff of five distribute products to supermarkets, hotels, pharmacies and wholesales in Hanover and neighbouring parishes. He intends to add turmeric powder to his product list in 2020.

When he isn't busy with farming, Davidson is either at school, at Bethel Bible College Extension, or meeting with community groups. He is a member of Maryland New Testament Church Youth Group, public relations officer for the Hanover Bee Keepers' Association, a member of the Jamaica Agriculture Society, and he assists with the management of his community's greenhouse facilities.

Last year he was nominated for the Prime Minister's Youth Award in the field of Entrepreneurship, and this year he has been serving as a Nutrmix Youth in Agriculture ambassador.

“I am fueled by my passion to achieve big and to keep growing, so that I'll be able to give back to my community,” Davidson told Career & Education. “My goal is to develop Davidson's Imperial into a reliable and trusted food brand, both in the local and international market.”

Of the Nutramix recognition, Davidson says he is proud and deserving.

“When I heard that I was selected, I felt proud because I know that I am deserving of this recognition. I also felt that it was a good way of getting my business out there. I think that this is a great initiative that Nutramix is doing,” he said.