Farmers’ market attracts thousands outside Base Camp Ayanganna

Thousands flocked to the farmers’ market hosted outside Base Camp Ayanganna in Georgetown on Saturday, snapping up agricultural produce and products at unbeatable prices.

This key initiative to supply fresh farm products and vegetables is a result of a collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF).

President Ali distributing watermelon

Present at the farmers’ market were President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, GDF Chief of Staff, Brigadier Omar Khan, and other officials.

Various agricultural produce on sale

President Ali reiterated the value of farmers’ markets, adding that they create a family-friendly environment.

“We have to go beyond the concept of the farmers’ market. What is very interesting and what I enjoyed the most, here, is to see families, the children, their parents, and grandparents, out together experiencing the market. I think this is a good example as to what makes us Guyanese having that market and family experience by going to the market…So, coming here to get that interaction with farmers and interaction with agriculture…it raises the level of awareness and it makes them inquisitive. And they themselves are encouraged to agriculture through these initiatives,” the head of state explained.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha distributing fruits to children

Guyana continues to position itself as the Caribbean’s food basket and President Ali noted that the farmers’ market creates the favourable setting for agro-processors to showcase their products.

Farmers’ Market at Camp Ayanganna

“It is an atmosphere that also encourages the agro-processors. For example, to come out in a different setting to market their product. And a lot of them said to me that, as a result of the settings, their market shares, not only here, but regionally and some going into the US, have increased tremendously. So, I believe that it benefits everyone.”

Consumer, Linden Moore

The president said the farmers’ market also encourages the purchase of non-traditional agricultural products, which are not typically sourced locally. He commended the GDF for supporting the initiative.

Meanwhile, Minister Mustapha noted that this is the 14th farmers’ market being hosted for the year.

GDF Chief of Staff, Brigadier Omar Khan

 “I am hoping that we can have it in all the regions and make it monthly…so that we can, at least, bring down the costs for the produce. Farm-gate price is much cheaper than when the middle buy these produce and take it to the markets. This is a good interaction that we are seeing…We are seeing bountiful harvest and consumers are enjoying better prices for the produce,” the minister underscored.

Farmers’ Market at Camp Ayanganna

Brigadier Khan disclosed that, “We have over 500 persons who would have passed through not only in the Guyana Defence Force, but also the joint services. We had like about 5,000 persons passing through in and out.”

The chief of staff said the GDF also wants to promote Guyana in many ways.

“We are promoting that relationship between the vendor and the purchaser. Incidentally, also, we want to promote our country because we want to send that message. We have been giving away jerseys and also if you notice the music in the background everybody is swaying,” he related.

Consumer, Linden Moore told the Department of Public Information (DPI), “I believe that it is good to host right at Camp Ayanganna. I could just walk out to buy what I have to buy to take home to the family. Things are at reasonable prices out here.”

Representative of the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) Foods, Akeem Williams also lauded the initiative as it bridges a gap between the customers and the producers.

“You can come at one point and get everything at a market price, instead of a mark-up price, where a middle man in involved. You will get the price directly from the producers and farmers,” Williams pointed out.

Another consumer, Abigail Mentore said the farmers’ market provides producers the opportunity to showcase their different products.

“I bought a homemade ice cream that I didn’t even know existed in Guyana. It tasted so delicious…it’s a great opportunity. I feel excited because you are out here and you get to meet up with old friends that you haven’t seen in a while,” Mentore highlighted.