The Ministry of Agriculture on Sunday hosted its second Farmers’ Market Day at the Albion Estate Road in Region Six, which saw scores of consumers turning out to purchase fresh commodities at affordable prices. The farmers’ market is one aspect of government’s efforts to bring down food prices.
The event has also allowed farmers to market a wide variety of produce including vegetables, seedlings, meat and livestock. The initiative also it gives them the opportunity to showcase and sell their packaged products that were manufactured in Guyana.
In February, a farmers’ market was held at the Lusignan tarmac, East Coast Demerara with resounding success.
Speaking during an invited comment, general manager for ‘Only Coconuts’, Leslie Ramlall said the market day is a necessary initiative as the country continues to develop.
“It’s really good, and not only for businesses like ours, but also to educate customers, educate citizens of Guyana. Guyana is moving and for us to be moving forward we have to be competitive,” Ramlall said.
He said Guyanese should support farmers and be proud of local products. He also reiterated the importance of packaging when promoting products for local and international markets.
“Packaging plays a very essential role in the promotion of your product, as well as being able to entice customers to your products…
So packaging is really important, so I would encourage any business man it’s not only about producing your products, but to ensure that whatever you’re producing is of that standard.”
‘Only Coconut’ is the largest coconut processing facility in the Caribbean, with all their products being organic. Some products exhibited at the market day included coconut flour, coconut oil, coconut chips, and desiccated coconut, among others.
Owner of Dixie’s Punch De Crème, Dixie Jorden said the market will allow for businesses to reach consumers they were unable to reach.
“I think it’s an excellent idea…for people like me to get my product to people that I wouldn’t normally reach on my own, so I think this is an awesome initiative that we have here and I really think they should keep continue doing it,” Jorden said.
DPI also spoke with some customers who said they were very satisfied with the initiative.
Nikita Lounk said, “I saw a wide variety of items and they’re all interesting…and I hope that they can have this another time very soon, it’s good, very good prices you know and you can make a good turn over and so on.”
Another consumer, Kevin Paul lauded the government for the initiative, noting that it presented an opportunity for job creation for youths.
“We thankful for the country produce we own products that is very good so that you could create a lot of jobs and things for the younger ones in we own country…
And this hay what they [government] do for the public and the country is very good and we thankful for it,” Paul related.
Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, M.P., said the ministry plans to host the event at least once every month and in all regions across Guyana.
“I’m hoping that in each region in this country we can at least have these market once monthly and this is a tremendous success here in Region Six…
So, farmers and consumers are calling that they want these markets to be held more regularly, so what we are doing now as I said we’ll be going to other regions and at the end of the first pilot exercise we’ll be looking to group farmers so that they can go to the different markets,” the minister said.
The agriculture minister also said the market will enhance Guyana’s agro-processing facilities and allow agro-processors more market for their produce.
“We are putting a lot of emphasis on value-added products; we are building a number of agro-processing facilities around the country…so this here will enhance our agro-processing facilities.”
He reiterated that Guyana has a future in agriculture production. He said within the next two to three years the country will be the “agriculture power house” in the region.