Career & Education

'At the end of every occupation there's a dollar sign'

Lawrence Lynch tells why he switched from nursing to agriculture

Sunday, June 02, 2019

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As a child, Lawrence Lynch was accustomed to seeing his grandfather toiling on his farm in St Thomas. The farm, which featured livestock and vegetables, provided the financial support that Zedekiah Duffus used to support his 11 children.

But Lynch had no interest in pursuing agriculture as a profession. In fact, he wanted to get into nursing. As fate would have it, however, those plans went through the window when his grandfather passed away six years ago.

“While on his deathbed, my grandfather encouraged me to get into farming. He told me that all his life he had done farming and its proceeds sent his children to school. He had accomplished a lot in life through agriculture, and he said that food is the staff of life; you can have everything in this world, whatever you want, if you give everyone what they want. At the end of every occupation there is the dollar sign,” Lynch recalled in an interview with the Jamaica Observer on Friday.

“From that discussion with my grandfather, everything he told me just stuck in my brain. I use it as a motto and I live by that,” he added.

Lynch decided to switch gear after his grandfather passed away. He had no formal training in agriculture and sought to get the requisite knowledge.

“Everything was happening so fast, so I went to the Yallahs Agro Park and did the training and implemented what I learnt on the farm. I soaked up all the external knowledge about agriculture that I wasn't familiar with,” he shared.

Today, the 31-year-old is the owner of Lynch's Enterprises in St Thomas. The five-acre property on which he farms is family land. It produces onion, okra, sweet pepper, hot pepper, tomato, melon, and cantaloupe. He also does spearfishing.

The farm employs up to eight workers during planting, weeding, and harvesting. His wife Daisy also helps on the farm.

His produce is available in supermarkets and wholesales across the corporate area. He also supplies householders and vendors who sell their produce at several markets across the island.

Asked what he liked most about agriculture, Lynch told Career & Education: “I like the breadth of agriculture. I also do apiculture, livestock and spear ishing. What I like most is when I can plant and produce things of high quality. That makes me feel very good. The quality and consistency makes it inevitable that there will be a dollar sign at the end. Not only for myself, but also the suppliers, the tractor workers, and the workers on the farm.”

Over the last four years, Lynch has been recognised for his pursuits in agriculture. Each year between 2015 and 2018, he was named RADA Best Farmer: Young Champion Farmer. In 2016, he was named IICA Youth in Agribusiness Awardee, taking second place in the Medium Scale Category. RADA, an agnecy of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, stands for Rural Agricultural Development Agency. IICA, meanwhile, is the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture.

This year he was chosen among 11 others as Nutramix Youth in Agriculture ambassador.

“I felt good when I was named among the Nutramix Youth in Agriculture ambassadors. Me and my wife we shared the joy with our two children, because the hard work that we do is being recognised. It is also very encouraging, because it is not easy to maintain five acres of land. Somebody is seeing what we as a young couple are doing, which is something positive and elevating. It's also a signal to me, to continue what we are doing,” he said.

Lynch offered some advice for individuals wishing to pursue agriculture as a profession.

“Agriculture is a business. It is also an occupation just like any other occupation and it is fulfilling. It is also enticing and fascinating. Today, the use of new equipment and technology has made it a lot easier', said Lynch.

He continued: “Farming is about us providing food for ourselves, our communities, and the entire nation. It is also a way in which we can create employment, boost the economy, and raise the standard of living. The returns are also great, once you put your thoughts and heart into it. Just like in any occupation there are challenges, but with God, you can overcome them”.

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