What started out as an idea to convert produce from the family’s farm into value-added products, five years later, has grown into a business that now employs up to 50 staff and is continuously looking to ramp-up its product line.
Now a fully integrated agricultural and agro-processing enterprise under the name Shavuot International Holdings Ltd, the parent company for Shavuot Farms, the family-run company is not only looking to tea business bubbling, but also wants to carve out a niche in the breadfruit flour, oils and powdered spices market.
“We do a line of herbal teas, moringa, soursop powders, etc; but we have also moved into producing Scotch bonnet pepper powder, thyme and scallion powders and we are also doing breadfruit flour,” father and CEO of Shavuot Farms, Richard Harris told the Jamaica Observer.
Shavuot Farms produces a range of exotic teas using the leaves and seeds of the moringa plant, turmeric, cerassee, cinnamon, ginger, and combinations of those products, as well as the Jamaican black castor oil.
Operating from an 8,000 square feet space in Wynter’s Pen, Spanish Town; Shavuot Farms, while not yet a household brand, caught the attention of the Jamaica Manufacturing and Exporters Association, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and IMF representative to Jamaica, Constant Lonkeng; who gathered for a tour of the company’s manufacturing facility last week.
The business is spearheaded by Harris, given his experience in operations management, but is also managed by his two sons, Joel, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Studies, and Jordan Harris.
“We started the farms in 2013 and grew anything you could think about, Scotch bonnet peppers, cucumber, sorrel and immersed ourselves in the agricultural sector. We were able to make the kind of linkages that we needed with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority and MOA, then we moved into the second part of the process which is manufacturing,” Harris said.
“We do the whole process ourselves, which is to take the leaves or whatever it is, clean, dry, mill and package it whether in tea bags or bottles, and send it off for distribution,” the CEO continued.
Shavuot Farms currently operates at roughly 50 per cent production capacity, but plans are to move up to 100 per cent with the new product lines. The company also has its eyes on new markets for exportation.
“We wouldn’t be doing it for anything else but for it to impact us positively. It’s hard to speak specifically at this stage, but we intend to more than double what we are currently doing right now and the products are being targeted at both the local and international market,” Harris told the Sunday Finance, highlighting that the breadfruit flour is only produced for the international market currently.
The manufacturing company currently exports to the United Kingdom, United States and throughout the Caribbean. Harris, was however, tight-lipped on its customer for the breadfruit flour, but noted that it’s “quite a large order”.
Locally, distribution of Shavuot Farms’ teas is provided by Derrimon’s Trading and is in grocery chains such as Progressive, Hi-Lo, MegaMart, Lee’s, and Loshusan.
“For the international markets, all our products go through distributors in the respective countries,” he said.
Shavuot Farms now has roughly 700 acres of land under production, to include contract farmers, and is also seeking to hire an additional 10 staff to carry out operation for the expanded line.