Agent Sasco opens up about farming and tourism venture
Agent Sasco has shared more about his plans to create an agro ecotourism destination in St Mary.
The well-known entertainer and his wife, Nicole, plan to develop their 20-acre Mulberry Valley Estate property into a agro and ecotourism destination.
"When I think of tourism, I think of the beach and the sea, and we get a lot of that in the Caribbean, and I think there is definitely a massive space for more of what I call inland tourism," the artiste mused.
Mulberry Valley Estate is located in Friendship Gap.
"The best part of this place is there is no traffic noise," Sasco said about its location.
Sasco and his wife are currently constructing lodging facilities. He 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.
He said the plan entails the construction of 10 total structures including a four-bedroom villa, one three-bedroom unit and two two-bedroom units.
"The rest [will be] in one-bedrooms in the more private part of the valley, perfect for a honeymoon vibe," he said.
The Winning Right Now hitmaker said that when completed, the resort will house about 30 guests.
"We're calling them 'cavillas' actually," he quipped, "and that's trademarked, so don't get any ideas," he said jovially.
The 'cavilla' bungalows will be a merger of the look, feel and experience of a mountain cabin and a villa to achieve a mixture of luxury of rustic textures, he explained. "We're doing stone walls right throughout, travertine floors and wooden exterior."
Sasco said each 'cavilla' will also be complemented with its own plunge pool. He said, too, that the resort will be designed carefully to preserve the natural environment.
"Numbers-wise, we want to ensure that the 'likkle' waterfowls in the river right there don't feel like the place full of people, and they have to leave. The plan is definitely to blend with what is here, not to upset anything and enjoy it as it is," he explained.
The property, which will operate primarily from solar energy, boasts a 17-tree lychee forest; more than 50 varieties of fruit trees and an exotic fruit forest with trees such as ice-cream bean, loquat, canistel, cashew, araza, governor's plum, and of course mulberries.
"This property here is something I saw in my mind from as far as my memories go back and so I have always wanted something like this," the Jamaica National (JN) Group ambassador reflected.
He said that goats will also be among the stock reared on the farm, from which he hopes to launch another business line in genetic breeding.
"As part of this project, we will be pruning the mulberry trees, feeding the leaves to the goats and this goat operation is more of a stud farm, so instead of being a true meat production farm, we might go into more genetics and things like that so we get the benefits of giving the goats the mulberry leaves. They're happy, we're happy and the kids don't have to wonder how come 'we a eat' mutton this week, and what happen to the goat 'wah dem see' last week," he joked.
A boiling house is also being eyed for the property, as the musician seeks to explore by-products of the estate's exotic plants.
"My dream actually is not for it to be Mulberry Valley Estate or Mulberry Jam, no, no, no. I want to see Mulberry Jam from Jamaica. And in the same way the Ministry [of Agriculture and Fisheries] tells us to plant [food], who to tell if in another three years, people will be encouraged to plant mulberries because it's a new, lucrative industry," he opined.
Meanwhile, the JN Group has congratulated Sasco and Nicole on the project. Warren Wilson, senior manager, sales at the Jamaica Automobile Association, a member company of the group, said that the artiste is capable of many things.
"He has many talents, many interests, and many trades at which he is and has been successful. Today, what we're witnessing is merely his latest feat," he said.
"Therefore, when it came to choosing an ambassador for our brand- an 'agent' for the JN values -- it was a no-brainer to engage Agent Sasco who we believe is a symbol of what we consider to be a personification of Jamaican identity -- someone who is conscious of his past and confident about his present and future," Wilson said.