Sasco lays down roots - Entertainer embarks on agro and ecotourism project
Dancehall entertainer Agent Sasco and his wife, Nicole, have embarked on an ambitious project to develop a 20-acre property into a agro and ecotourism destination.
The property, Mulberry Valley Estate, is located in Friendship Gap, St Mary.
Sasco, whose given name is Jeffrey Campbell, said his vision for the estate is to create a space where "people come to experience nature and agriculture in a different way".
"The Mulberry project is a pilot ... to explore the growth of mulberries as a commercial crop in Jamaica [as] mulberry is a superfood," the Winning Right Now hitmaker said. The artiste reasoned that mulberries have the potential to create value-added products such as wines and preserves.
Mulberries have been found to be a good source of iron, vitamin C. Additionally, mulberries are believed to be beneficial in the treatmnet of several chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Pearnel Charles Jr, who along with other ministry principals as well as private-sector interests visited Sasco's farm, said it has the potential to be a world-class agriculture and tourism destination.
"I am more than convinced that Jamaica needs this magical Mulberry Valley Estate. Agriculture is a multidimensional, evolving, interconnected marketplace, and your vision is a reflection of our drive to really expose to the world all that Jamaica has to offer," Charles said.
He added: "I want to ensure you of our commitment to work with you [and] to work with the Ministry of Tourism to really make this a success and a reflection of sustainable agriculture and tourism. I want the world to know that here is where excellence lies."
Sasco and his wife are in the process of process of constructing lodging facilities. The standout entertainer said the property will not be open to the public until the first accommodation is built.
"We envision that to be about a year from now; [it] will be a three-bedroom [unit] on the hillside; everyone gets their own pool, and that sort of thing," Sasco said.
Dermon Spence, permanent secretary in the agriculture ministry, highlighted the unique and tranquil ambience that the estate can potentially provide.
"The living and the peace of mind that you get from finding yourself in a space where you can watch birds [and] you can look at the water... gives you a different vibe, and you complement that with animals for petting and [many other] things. We are endorsing the project by being here. When there is partnership, there's a greater chance for success," Spence said.
Meanwhile, Charles announced plans to appoint Agent Sasco and Nicole as 'Grow Smart, Eat Smart' ambassadors.
"You have been able to use your own network to bring [stakeholders] here. I am looking forward to youngsters seeing this as a place where they can come and learn. I am looking forward to the infusion of technology and innovation with the traditional, [and] us learning more about the mulberry as a superfood. I am looking forward to all the future holds for us," the minister said.