Damien Hinkson (third right) showing officials from the Food and Agriculture Organisation and United Nations a special variety of onion grown on the site. (Picture by Lennox Devonish.)NCF CEO Cranston Browne accepting some of the equipment from Chinese ambassador Yan Xiusheng as some of the NCF staff looks on. (Picture by Lennox Devonish.)
Damien Hinkson is a man with a mission.
It is to change traditional approaches to crop production on his farm.
Hinkson is pursuing his dream thanks to help of a United Nations small grant of $100 000.
It was nine years ago that he received the grant and set up an aquaponics farm on a plot of land in Baird’s Village, St George.
He has been using waste from tilapia and pakko fish to grow crops such as eggplants, onions, okras, spinach and herbs.
During a tour of the facility yesterday by officials of the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the UN’s Development Programme, Hinkson showed how his farm was also a renewable energy facility.
Hinkson outlined how he uses special batteries, which store energy from solar panels, to power a water system that irrigates the crops. The system also pumps the excess water into a filter that sends it back into the fish tanks.
Hinkson said that he uses the sargassum seaweed to make a micro nutrient liquid substance for the plants. He said using the seaweed was an alternative to spending hundreds of dollars to import the nutrients.
The sargassum seaweed has become a national problem for fisherfolk and people in the tourism industry, but Hinkson said other farmers could utilise the seaweed instead of buying fertiliser.
He said all one needed was to put dry sargassum, with most of the salt dusted, in a five gallon bucket. Fill it with water and add a quarter cup of molasses, stir and cover the bucket. Every now and then open the lid to release the air and when it starts to give off a pleasing odour, it means it has fermented. The ingredients should then be sieved and it is at this point the liquid can be used. (SB)