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Black Farmer sausage headed for Jamaican market

Published:Friday | October 28, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, owner of Black Farmers Limited, delivers an animated speech as keynote speaker at the NCB Nation Builder NCB Awards at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Tuesday. - Colin Hamilton/Freelance Photographer

Avia Collinder, Business Writer

Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, owner of the Black Farmer Limited, is giving himself a year to introduce his trademark high-end sausages into Jamaican supermarkets.

For now, the British millionaire who originates from Jamaica says he is focused on adding a women's line to his new clothing business, The Black Farmer Range launched in 2010.

Emmanuel-Jones told the Financial Gleaner that he has invested £200,000 in the clothing business to date.

The primary manufacturer of gluten-free sausages, the entrepreneur says his seven-year-old business is now worth £8 million in brand value and has grown 20 per cent year over year to secure the second-tier position in the British market for super-premium sausages.

Emmanuel-Jones, who was in Jamaica as a guest of National Commercial Bank Jamaica, said in his keynote speech at the NCB Nation Builders awards Tuesday in Kingston that his experience as an inner-city product of Birmingham who has made good, should inspire inner-city residents everywhere.

He did not finish school and identifies passion and persistence as the reasons for his success, starting at the BBC as a runner and moving on to interviewing celebrities in the food and drink industry.

Jamaican business plans

On Wednesday, when he spoke with the Financial Gleaner, the entrepreneur says he wants to start selling his products to Jamaicans and to launch into other businesses here.

"I want to launch in Jamaica next year," he said, adding that his medium- and long-term plans also include Black Farmer restaurants and brand of Blue Mountain coffee.

On British shelves, premium pork is the most widely available, but the company also carries pork onion and chive, and pork and leek made with British Freedom Food outdoor-bred pork from preferred producers. The manufacturing and distribution is outsourced to companies which produce according to Emmanuel-Jones' recipes and specifications, while he handles marketing and sales in-house.

The meat inputs are not from his farm, although he raises cattle.

Emmanuel-Jones has parlayed his broadcasting skills into marketing food - a business he pursued under his own shingle for 15 years after working for the BBC for a decade.

He realised his dream of owning his own farm - first conceived at age 11 while gardening in his father's backlot in Birmingham - after 41 years of accumulating the cash for the investment.

His newest venture, The Black Farmer Range - a subsidiary of the Black Farmer Limited - targets the high-end market for clothing which, Emmanuel-Jones states, has better margins than both food and other mass-market segments within clothing.

"Food production involves a lot of wastage which cuts into margins. Clothing has higher margins and the high-end has even higher margins," he said.

The Black Farmer Range, which will add women's wear today, October 28, at a pre-planned launch in London, is expected by its owner to be a loss-maker in the first two years.