Sherwood Content far from golden ... Farmers find going tough in Bolt's community

September 02, 2016
Ian Allen/Photographer Farmer Alfred Smith in Sherwood Content, Trelawny.
Ian Allen/Photographer Farmer George Wisdom with his goat in Sherwood Content, Trelawny.

... Farmers find going tough in Bolt's hometown

It's some time after 1 p.m., and George Wisdom is taking a breather.

"The left leg yah nah work wid me so well, lately," he says.

Wisdom has been farming as his main source of livelihood for nearly 30 years. He is one of the many tillers of the soil who resides in Sherwood Content, Trelawny, the community from which Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man, springs.

It's tough going these days for Wisdom. Aside from his occasional physical ailments, his once-burgeoning herd of goats is now done to one kid, which is a cross between Nubian and a Boer.

Praedial larceny has hit him hard.

"I had up to 20 at one time, enuh," he said. "Is jus this one left. Every step mi step, him follow me."

He has had to resort to keeping the goat inside a little side room of his already small, wooden house.

Wisdom's small plot, a few steps from his front step, is located right beside the main road in the community. He has a larger piece of land in nearby Windsor, on which he has coconut, breadfruit and pear trees. But even there, others have come to help themselves to his hard work. When asked if any persons, especially those in their teens or early 20s had expressed interest, he laughed.

"Dem nuh interested. Young people just want to sit down wid dem hand out," he said.

"From Monday to Monday, jus' loaf out and beg."

He said a few men started to work with him, but they soon started slacking off.

"I tell dem if is company mi want, mi woulda look woman," he said, somewhat seriously. "I believe in money for work, and work for money." His neighbour and fellow farmer Alfred Smith saunters over, curious as to who's bothering his fellow countryman.

"A was wondering if unnu is from Government," said the sprightly 86-year-old. His hands are red, testament to the ground he's just been in. You quickly find out that Smith is not a fan of those bearing gifts or promises.

The lack of a good road and water woes are high on his agenda of what we [residents] would like to see from the authorities.

"Every now and then, dem pump water give me," said Smith. "We want water, man, cause dat is life." Smith said his first experience with farming was about age six, carrying water for his father to tend to crops. So he considers himself a lifelong farmer.

"We still do it because we want good things, we nah tief. Dem young people yah nah farm. If you waan see dem, jus' put on a pot. Dem wi come," he laughed heartily.

They are especially disappointed that others haven't taken up the challenge in Sherwood Content, as the land is perfect.

"Is good agricultural land, man. Any ting you plant, it bear," said Wisdom. Right now, Smith's plot consists mostly of cassava and pepper. He said it costs about $1,000 for him to transport his produce to the nearest market. Depending on what he sells, it may not cover his transportation cost. But both men, despite the hardships, say they will continue to farm as it is what they do best.

"I woulda love if dem coulda find market fi we, so we can get something (money) so we can eat a food 'til God tek we home," Smith said.

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