JIS News

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has invited consumers in Kingston and St. Catherine to a Farmers' Market to be held at the Portmore Heart Academy on Friday (February 4).

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, said the farmers' markets are being held as a corrective measure to address the glut in some produce. He added that the upcoming event in St. Catherine promises to be better than the last six held at various centres across the island.

"We are appealing to shoppers in the Portmore area to come out early. We are starting at six in the morning, and we go on until six in the evening or maybe a little later," he told a press conference at his Ministry, Hope Gardens, Kingston, on Tuesday (February 1).

"We have done a lot more mobilisation. We expect to have more farmers and a larger variety of output," he added.
Dr. Tufton said that, unlike the previous farmers' markets, the Ministry is seeking to ensure that there is a wider variety of produce at the event, to provide a better shopping experience for consumers.

"You have a glut of some crops, in this instance about four or five. You can't cater to a farmers' market (by) just exposing four or five crops, you need a wider selection," he said.

"We are going to be coordinating to ensure that there is a variety, not just glut products, but non-glut products," he promised.

The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) has been working to mobilise a number of farmers, who have seen the successes of the previous farmers' markets and have given the assurance that they will be turning out for the event, he said.

Dr. Tufton noted that the Ministry is "testing" the concept of the farmers' market, to see if it is plausible to have similar events across the island on a monthly basis.
"We have to ensure, though, that it doesn't conflict with the regular markets that exist and take place on a routine basis, because you don't want to cannibalise the activities," he noted.