Farmers and consumers turned out in their numbers on Sunday, to take advantage of the Ministry of Agriculture’s farmers’ market at the Lusignan market tarmac, East Coast Demerara.
The event provided an opportunity for farmers to showcase and sell their fresh produce, while buyers were able to purchase the organic fruits and vegetables at affordable prices.
Pandit Ravi Persaud was among the first to grab his weekly supply of vegetables. He told DPI that he was extremely elated to see Guyanese being offered similar opportunities as other developed countries.
“I just bought 50 Baigan at six for $200!” Pandit Persaud exclaimed. He added, “I must tell you my van is filled and my wallet is completely empty. I have sent home for some more money to do additional shopping.” He also thanked the government for hosting the exercise.
Brimming with smiles, Kushana Archer said she was able to purchase all she needed at one venue.
“I think it is a wonderful initiative to be able to buy everything in one location, its beautiful. Also, the money goes directly to the farmer, you cut out the middle man and consumers get the best price,” Archer emphasised, as she moved to the other stalls with her pulley shopping bag.
Another consumer, Bridget Roberts, also lauded the government for a well-planned event.
“Everything is reasonable here; it is very good. The Ministry of Agriculture has done something very nice and I would commend them for doing such a job,” Roberts noted.
Meanwhile, Denise Ifill who lives nearby said, “when I heard the music, I was so excited and I came out and I am not disappointed, the prices are really good.”
Farmer, Kamal Persaud of Mahaica River, Region Five and Kelvin Forde, owner of Kelvin’s Taste Company were among the vendors thrilled to participate in the remarkable exercise.
“We normally have people coming and buy these produce from us in the river. They go and sell and when they finish selling, they come back and pay us what they feel like paying us. Now this venture here is such a great one, we brought our produce and it’s already sold out,” Persaud told DPI.
Meanwhile, Forde explained that the event afforded him the chance to link with his customers.
“Today I sell for the wholesale price so, my customers were able to save in a $200 because when you go to the supermarkets you will pay little more,” he added.
Accordingly, the agriculture ministry is considering hosting the exercise monthly in Region Four, based on requests made by farmers and shoppers.
‘I am hoping that on the East Coast here…we can organise this farmers’ market once monthly. Some farmers and the consumers are saying that they want this market every week, we have to review and see how we can make it more regular for the people to get lower prices,” Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, M.P, underscored.
He said farmers in other districts countrywide will also benefit from similar exercises.
“I am seeing people from Region Five and Region Three coming here this morning to purchase items and, as I said yesterday on our social media page, that we will take these markets across the country and this will not be a one-off exercise,” the minister said.
Further, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond, M.P, noted that the initiative demonstrates the administration’s practical response to address the rise in food prices.
“This is government’s response of price reduction measure that was announced in the budget and to bring local farmers directly to the market, so you cut down the transportation and all those other costs that can cause prices to rise.
And this is what exactly government has promised to do, bring direct practical responses to the rising food prices,” Minister Walrond pointed out.
Additionally, she stated that the commerce department within her ministry continues to monitor the prices of food items and other commodities.