Scores of Hanover residents turned out to support farmers and small business owners at the Social Development Commission (SDC) Farmers’ Market on Thursday (July 2).
The event was the latest in a series held across the island since May, aimed at showcasing local entrepreneurs under the Local Economic Development Support Programme (LEDSP), while establishing continuity of business in light of the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The LEDSP is one of seven programmes of the SDC through which different partners in a local area are brought together to work and harness local resources for sustainable economic growth.
In Hanover, the farmers’ market was combined with a bus tour starting at the SDC office located at Watson Taylor Park in Lucea, travelling to River Bend Garden in Jericho, then stopping at Cascade for a mini market.
From there, the tour travelled to the Hopewell Community Centre for a display of agro-processed goods, craft and jewellery, then back to Watson Taylor Park for the grand farmers’ market.
SDC Parish Manager for Hanover, Mashario Bisasor, told JIS News that the bus tour took persons “from one space to another space to patronise the persons who are producing in the communities”.
“We took stakeholders, restaurateurs, returning residents, [and] persons who are purchasers from the hotels into the space where persons are producing and the farmers are farming. Therefore, persons didn’t have to come to one central location, which means all the money that is spent will be 100 per cent in the community,” he explained.
Mr. Bisasor said he was pleased with the success of the bus tour and farmers’ market.
“Over the past three months… some persons were not able to do any business at all. So if we are able to stimulate and engage and assist one family to feed another family, one person to employ another person, we find that to be a success,” he said.
Director of Local Economic Development and Community Projects at the SDC, Avril Ranger, told JIS News that Thursday’s event was the 11th held across the island since May.
“We are servicing 23 LEDSP initiatives in the parish of Hanover. We have 17 on show [today] that are doing great business. We have persons who have come from all over the parish to support these grassroots businesses,” she noted.
She said that the farmers’ markets have been a success, with more than $17 million earned to date.
Ms. Ranger informed that 17 more are planned across the island and is advising interested persons to visit the SDC website at www.sdc.gov.jm for further information.
Owner and Operator of Cabule Designs, Cecelia Blake, who participated on Thursday’s event, told JIS News that she is grateful for the opportunity to showcase her products, which include handmade purses, handbags, pouches, and face masks.
“It has been great and they (SDC) have also been helping out with grants. They help you to produce and with opportunities like these today, where you actually get a chance to showcase your business,” she said.
Upcoming farmers’ markets will be held in Clarendon (July 4), Kingston and St. Andrew (July 11), Manchester (July 24), St. Thomas (July 25), and Trelawny (July 31).