JIS News

Officials of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) have updated farmers in Manchester and St. Elizabeth on strategies that they need to employ when selling produce.
Representatives of the agency, led by Executive Director, Al Powell, was on a ‘meet the farmers’ tour of the two parishes last week where they addressed various issues affecting farmers.
At a meeting held at the Peartree Community Centre, in Knockpatrick Manchester, Post Harvest Specialist at RADA, Vaughn Barnaby said farmers must be consistent with supply in order to retain available markets for crops that they cultivate.
“There are two critical issues facing us in the area of marketing, farmers have to be consistent with what they are producing. The hotels proffer to buy from local producers, because the cost is much better than those imported, and the guests like to eat fresh produce, so if you plant tomatoes this month, and a hotel buys them – you can’t go and cultivate another crop because the price for that particular crop is higher than tomatoes, and forgetting that you have an arrangement to provide the hotel with produce that they need. So be consistent with your supply and the way you price those supply, or else someone will fill that gap,” Mr. Barnaby cautioned.
Meanwhile, Mr. Powell asked that farmers get involved in greenhouse technologies and inform the agency on the crops that they are growing so that they can be assisted with marketing.
“We are building some 40 greenhouses across the island and most of them are being built in Manchester and St. Elizabeth, and they are for every farmer, small and large. We are in dialogue with agro-processors to expand the marketing base for our farmers, but if you don’t register with the agency and tell what you are growing, we won’t be in a position to seek those buyers for you. The RADA offices are there for you,” Mr. Powell assured.

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