(GINGERLAND, NEVIS)- In what seems to be the most fleeting year, A-1 Farms, an SIDF, SEED-funded business, which opened in January of 2014, celebrated its first Anniversary last Thursday, January 22nd. The Business is owned by local businessman, Mr. Mackie Tross, who is more than likely, more popularly known as the Owner/General Manager of A-1 Technologies. Hosted on the Farm itself, which is located in Hard Times, Gingerland, the ceremony saw congratulatory speeches being made by Mrs. Hope Merchant and Ms. Rodney Elliott, Managers of the Riviere House Restaurant and Rodney’s Cuisine respectively, who are loyal clients of A-1 Farms; the Hon. Alexis Jeffers, Minister of Communications, Works, Public Utility, Post, Natural Resources & Environment; Mr. Eric Evelyn, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture; and a host of other individuals.
In giving comments, Mr. Noah Mills, who served as the Business Coach/Consultant attached to A-1 Farms for one year, lauded Mr. Tross for how pedantic he is as it relates to production detail, customer satisfaction, and operational efficiency. Both the Hon. Jeffers and Mr. Evelyn also touted how impressed and proud Nevis and the Nevis Island Administration are of Mr. Tross’ entrepreneurial acumen and the innovation that he has brought to the island. Mr. Evelyn can be quoted as saying that he has “sung Mr. Tross’ and A-1 Farms’ commendations not only locally, but also regionally and internationally.”
In describing his journey, Mr. Tross praised his son and wife, Mrs. Faye Tross, for the inspiration to pursue a high-tech Green House. He explained that what started out as a Home Work assignment some three years ago has now blossomed into a facility that produces tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, and other condiments. What further amazed the audience was the many varieties on offer; the farm’s production output and success ratio; and that some of the plants which we are accustomed to seeing grow no more than four feet tall, are stretching to 30 feet in length and producing at times, ten times the normal yield for that species, when it is grown locally, using traditional means. Also worthy of note is that A-1 Farms is an environmentally friendly-operation. As such, it produces “firm, large, and juicy products,” as described by one of the customers present.
Mr. Tross then went on to thank the SIDF and all its affiliates who would have contributed along the way to development and present success of A-1 Farms. Mr. Tross was a member of the first cohort from SEED, which is an acronym for Small Entrepreneur and Enterprise Development Project. This project sees candidates attending three weeks of professional training, then if successful, receiving up to EC $100, 000.00, interest-free funding, without having to provide any collateral. Said SEED arrangement also sees recipients receiving up to a 12-month moratorium, within which period, they would not be required to commence loan repayment. Further, said business owners subsequently receive one-year’s support from a Trained Accountant and Business Coach, all paid for by SIDF.