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Who remembers Donald Hoo?

Published:Tuesday | August 15, 2017 | 12:00 AM


While the country geared up for the celebration of its 55th year of Independence, it lost one of its great minds with the passing of Donald Hoo.

Born in Buff Bay in 1931, Donald Hoo was a man ahead of his time. Having dropped out of Beckford and Smith High School (now St Jago), he went to work with his dad on his rice mill in Salt Island.

It is here that his love affair with farming began taking root. In short order, he acquired 180 acres of land in Harmony Hall, Salt Island, and began planting rice.

By the 1960s to '70s, Mr Hoo became Jamaica's largest rice farmer, supplying 80 per cent of the country's needs. At this point, Mr Hoo had 650 acres, of which 300 was used for rice farming.

Years later, he turned his attention to construction, building the Hellshire main road as well as cleaning (desilting) the Hermitage Dam.

Mr Hoo left for Belize in 1978, where he was instrumental in setting up and planting 600 acres of rice for the government. He returned to Jamaica in 1982 and, with concessions from the Government, went into fish farming with 80 acres of pond-growing tilapia.

Mr Hoo knew agriculture and construction like the back of his hand. I was indeed privileged to have had him as my neighbour for more than 30 years.

Rest well, my friend.