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Newport Fersan pushes to remain ahead

Published:Sunday | February 15, 2015 | 2:00 AM

With more offerings available for farmers seeking fertiliser, one of the nation's leading suppliers of the product, Newport Fersan, is expressing confidence that it remains the best bet.

"That is because we don't sell a bag of fertiliser. We sell a bag of solutions," managing director of Newport Fersan, Dennis Valdez, told The Sunday Gleaner recently.

"Anybody can sell a bag of fertiliser but our fertiliser comes with service which sets us apart with respect to competitors. In selling you a bag of fertiliser, we supply a bag full of solutions together with the transferring of technology and knowledge to each farmer who uses our products," added Valdez.

According to Valdez, cutting-edge technology, an outgrowth of its ongoing investment in research and development, is what informs the Newport Fersan's precise nutrition programme which accounts for its growing popularity among farmers.

Precise nutrition

"We prescribe precise nutrition - no more, no less," Valdez explained. "It's like a family type doctor for plants. So we visit your farm, take soil samples and send the samples to a lab. and in those results we know what the soil can provide. We know what the crop requires and we can determine how much nutrient to apply to supply the right amount of nutrient to that crop to obtain the highest possible yields."

However, Valdez, who has presided over the company's Jamaican operations for the last seven and half years, says it took a major investment in time as well as resources to convince local farmers of the value to be gained from the precise application of fertiliser, as against the traditional broad-based methods.

"It has not been an easy job and that's why we are where we are today, being the preferred brand of fertiliser because of our consistency. I believe a lot in show and tell. If you are a farmer accustomed to using 16-9-18 NPK (ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that make up complete fertiliser's) and your father, grandfather are used to using this, why should you change your formula when you have seen results in the past?

"You have to go and explain to the farmers that you are applying a product with an additive enhancer. It might cost a little bit more because you are adding a different element but at the end of the day, that additional cost will represent savings to him or her because the nutrients remain in the soil for a longer time."

Spurred on by this accomplishment, the Newport Fersan team is all fired up and motivated to do even more to maintain and even increase the pace in order to stay ahead of its competitors.

"We still have a lot of work to do," Valdez disclosed, "and we have developed a technical department only dedicated to providing our unique recipe for precise nutrition programme. We don't only have a sales team out there selling products but we also have a technical team that visits your farm, makes an assessment of your farm - coffee, citrus, sugar cane, vegetable, you name it, anything."

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com