JIS News

Farmer from East Kirkland Heights, St. Andrew, Glenroy Crossman, had brought a carload of mainly fruits and vegetables to Friday’s (June 3) farmers’ market held at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries ’ Hope Gardens playfield.

Included were lettuce, cantaloupe, water melon, pineapple, scallion, and pak choi.

Mr. Crossman was one of several farmers assembled for the market organised by Kingston and St. Andrew Association of Branch Societies (ABS) of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), in collaboration with the Agriculture Ministry, and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).

The day’s sales began at 8:00 am and by little after mid-day, Mr. Crossman’s stock was sold out.

“This morning I came with my car full and now it is empty. This is my third farmers market and it is the best one so far,” he told JIS News.

Potato farmer from Content Gap, Stafford Miller, who was attending the farmers’ market for the first time was also pleasantry surprised by the booming sales.

He told JIS News that he had learned about the event through a RADA extension officer.

“The produce has been moving very nicely and I get support from RADA. I get potato and other seeds from RADA and they try to assist in any way they can,” he noted.

President of the Kingston and St. Andrew ABS, Albert Green, told JIS News that with the cancellation of the annual ‘Agrofest’ in May, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the organisation is staging a series of monthly farmers’ markets to help farmers distribute excess produce.

He said that the events also seek to showcase the variety of produce available in the Kingston and St. Andrew region.

“We are doing mini ‘agrofests’… we are planning to have this every month once the stock is there. We will partner with RADA and the Ministry of Agriculture; it will continue until the farmers say when. Our decision is driven by the farmers,” he noted.

He said that the next market will be staged in August.

Mr. Green noted that the farmers’ market concept has become very popular among consumers for its ease of accessibility, high quality produce sold at reasonable prices and it better facilitates social distancing.

“We put on this farmer’s market to assist farmers to (offload) their produce…Patrons like what is happening here and they are asking for more. At the Kingston and St. Andrew JAS, it is our intention to provide service that assists our farmers and satisfies buyers’ demand…the customers are responding very well,” he told JIS News.

At Friday’s market, which ended at 3:00 pm, patrons were able to purchase farm produce at attractive prices from approximately 15 farmers’ booths. Special sale items included a flat of 30 eggs for $500 and fruit and vegetable baskets for $1, 200.

Among organisations participating in the farmers’ market were the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, Jamaica Juice, Nestle Jamaica Limited and Hardware and Lumber (H&L) Agro.

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