Consumers in St. Ann are lauding the one day farmers’ market held on Friday (January 21) at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority’s (RADA) parish office in Claremont, calling for more such events to be held.
Scores of residents supported the market, which was one of six organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries at various centres across the island, in order to address the glut in some produce.
Buyers flocked the stalls of fresh fruits, vegetables, condiments, yams and sweet potatoes and other ground provisions, where they were able to make purchases at far reduced prices. Cabbage was sold for $20 per pound from the regular price of $30; oranges for $100 per dozen from $150; and there were similar reductions for lettuce, tomatoes, turnip, hot peppers and sweet peppers.
“They (the farmers) should do this more often because we get the things real fresh from their farms and much cheaper than what we would pay for them if they were to sell us in the public market here in Claremont, in Brown’s Town or even St. Ann’s Bay,” one consumer told JIS News.
Farmer, Maurice Berbick from Brown’s Town said he was happy for the Ministry’s initiative. “I brought cabbages and carrots out here to sell and I have to say that the market was good,” he said.
“I think the Ministry of Agriculture should put on this one day market for the farmers at least once per month because it would work out and farmers could benefit,” Mr. Berbick told JIS News.
Farmer, Rupert Lennon from Lillyfield in Bamboo said that he too was happy with the day’s sales and that he was able to please the consumers with the quality of produce that he took to the market. “I came with what I had and I thank God for what I received out of it,” he said.
He however expressed disappointment that more farmers had not turned out for the event. “As far as I heard, the venture was well advertised, so had the farmers turned out like they said they would, then it would put a greater highlight on the agricultural endeavour that the country is trying to pursue right now,” Mr. Lennon said.
St. Ann Parish Agricultural Manager for RADA, Pedro Worghs, also lamented the poor support by the farmers, noting that they were well informed about the venture.
“The farmers across the parish were informed and they promised to come, but I suspect that they felt more or less that the consumers would probably not have come out to support them and so I think they had that reservation,” Mr. Worghs said.
On the other hand, he said that he was very pleased with the turnout of the consumers, who showed up in large numbers and gave full support to those farmers, who came out to market their produce.
He commended the farmers, who participated and appealed to them and others to seek assistance from RADA, noting that the agency stood ready to help in finding markets for their goods.
CONTACT: ALDEEN CAMPBELL
JIS REGIONAL OFFICE