Work on a butterfly farm has begun in the hills of Valencia where Arima businessman, Vishnu Tewarie is hard at work putting the finishing touches on a ten-acre eco-tourism resort. According to Tewarie, when completed, the butterfly farm would be the only one of its kind in the Caribbean.
Tewarie, who owns Saffire Engineering Company, manufacturers of Saffire gas stoves led the way during an interview from the Arima Industrial complex, home of Saffire headed for Valencia. Leaving the Cumaca Road behind, he drove through a village, a mile from the main road. As he outlined his dream, the ordinary countryside changed to accommodate the vision of visitors arriving in buses and cars and the sound of children’s laughter filling the air. Access to the one-of-a-kind resort can also be made via San Pablo, he pointed out.
The main gate yet to be constructed leads the way down a curve with an office to the left and the butterfly farm on the right. Tewarie said that the idea for a butterfly farm was born during a business meeting in Costa Rica. A group of businessmen were taken on a tour of a butterfly farm.
“I watched the look of wonder on their faces and was completely fascinated,” he said. Flowering plants thrived in readiness for the butterflies. He said that the men eagerly snapped photographs to show their families back home. “I knew immediately that I had to set up a butterfly farm in Trinidad,” he said.
Tewarie said that a large shed would be built and covered in net to secure the butterflies and provide a natural habitat to over 300 varieties of butterflies found locally.
The sourcing of butterflies for the farm, he said would be done in the dry weather and would continue on an ongoing basis. Across a narrow bridge the Barrow River makes its appearance, transporting crystal clear water across the property and with it, its own music as it rides gently over a riverbed of tiny pebbles. There at the foot of the hill, the dream merchant pointed to small cottages built in timber. There are two executive two-bedroom guest houses, a four-bedroom facility and an eight-room hotel overlooking a fish pond. The buildings are fitted into the hills with over 500 fruit trees recently planted to add to the ambience of the resort in making.
Tewarie said that when he bought the land he wanted to own his very own piece of the forest and delighted in keeping the natural landscape unchanged as much as possible. Callaloo bush thrives in the drains and set against the backdrop of tall green bamboo clusters is a swimming pool and artificial waterfall.
Men were at work, making round concrete tiles that will form its own unique footpath. On the other side of the narrow roadway, a kitchen and dining area is surrounded by trees, sheltering the area from the eyes of visitors and providing privacy to the expected guests.
He led the way to one of the cottages and a solar heating water system which he designed and made and expressed a further desire to promote the natural heating system throughout the Caribbean.
He proudly displayed the local fruit trees. “I have been looking for the various types of fruits and hope to have one of each that is available locally on the farm,” he said adding that when completed, it would provide an education for children and adults alike as well as offer a place to rest and recuperate away from stressful lives.
In addition to the butterfly farm, there would also be a fish farm, an area for domesticated wild animals and vegetable crops. Spending every spare moment at the multi-million dollar project site, Tewarie is determined to set up an ideal holiday resort and has a completion date in mind. He plans to complete the project in January and hold a grand formal opening ceremony in March. Dressed in sporting wear and completely in his element he spoke of the natural hillside which he said provided an ideal location to grow fruits and flowers and to house butterflies, birds and animals. As the dream expanded walk-in bird cages and domesticated wild animals and butterflies came into the picture. “I could imagine visitors looking at plants and animals in a natural habitat created with the welfare of the animals in mind,” he said. Birds and other animals would be encouraged to share the space with abundant fruits for food and an appreciative audience among those who wish to visit.
Tewarie is a UWI graduate with a BSc in mechanical engineering. He founded Saffire Engineering in 2001. He is looking for a good name for his dream project and for now is working with, “Valencia Eco-Tourism Resort”. The project holds great promise for the tourism industry.