Sat | Jan 23, 2021

Fidelis Harvests implements measures to combat praedial larceny

Published:Friday | September 21, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Jaymeon (right) and Matthew Jones, operators of Fidelis Harvests.
Some of the peppers that are planted on the Fidelis Harvest farm.

Having lost approximately J$150,000 in equipment and an undisclosed value of their crops to praedial larceny, the operators of Fidelis Harvests, Jaymeon and Matthew Jones, made a calculated move to raise funds via crowdfunding to put security measures in place and prevent future losses.

The two farmers signed up their project on the ISupport website, a crowd-funding platform that is an initiative of The Jamaica National Group. Five months later, their campaign was 100 per cent funded.

"We were self-funded. We did not have a third partner with cash. We wanted to address the issue of praedial larceny quicklyto reduce our loss in equipment and crop. We simply wanted to protect our investment, but we did not have the funds," said Jaymeon Jones.

"We explored several funding options," Jones related. "However, we were not successful. Then, we decided to explore the option to acquire capital via crowdfunding."

Jaymeon, was familiar with the ISupportJamaica platform; and knew how it worked. Hence, he and his brother Matthew opted to register the project on the website.

"I wanted to leverage the name, given that it was a Jamaican crowdfunding platform, and I thought that it would play to our advantage when approaching locals or other persons in Jamaica about the campaign," Jaymeon explained.




The friends-turned-partners soon realised that they had to do their part in promoting the campaign for it to work. Matthew explained that it entailed asking for support from family and friends and using social media, as well as one-to-one campaigning.

"The approach reaped some successes, with some pledges. However, the major part of the funds came from an initiative, when we sent a bag of peppers attached to a helium balloon with a letter explaining the campaign to some of our high-end clients," Matthew related.

"We received a few bites, including a private investor," he informed. "We did receive a lot of the pledges. However, one private investor loved the idea and wanted to take the relationship further by investing in our company," he said.

Jaymeon said that the investor's commitment enabled the campaign to reach its goal of US$6,000.

"You have to be creative if you want your campaign to be successful. For me, although one-to-one campaigning is more successful and the follow-up is crucial, you need to be willing to stay the course," he advised.

The funds earned from the campaign will be used to build a structure for overnight workers; install lights, cameras, and an alarm system; and purchase two security dogs.

Phillip Lindsay, operations officer, ISupportJamaica, at the JN Group said that crowdfunding is beneficial as it is a fast way to gain exposure for projects or business ventures and raise financial support.

"The primary objective of ISupportJamaica is to provide financial support to MSMEs (medium, small ans micro enterprises) and not-for-profit projects and programmes," Lindsay explained.

He further added, "Using ISupportJamaica for crowd-funding locally brings a ton of benefits to our users because ISupportJamaica is powered by the JN Group, a strong brand locally and in the Jamaican diaspora. Its fees are minimal, and there are multiple ways to donate. The risk is low, and you can obtain marketing and project assistance."

Lindsay also explained that contributing to any initiative via the platform is simple and secure. Interested persons can donate by visiting the ISupportJamaica platform at www.isupport, click on the project; and then click the 'Fund Project' button.

In addition, donations can be made via credit card, JN Live e-banking, visiting any JN Branch or MoneyShop, and interbank transfers.

Fidelis Harvests, an agro-based start-up situated in Toll Gate, Clarendon, was developed by Matthew and Jaymeon in 2016. The farm's sole focus at present is growing and selling Scotch bonnet peppers. They currently employ two persons from the community to carry out the day-to-day operations in the field, with additional persons hired on an as-needed basis.