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Produce galore - St Catherine farmers experiencing an oversupply of crops; prices fall

Published:Wednesday | December 24, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Ruddy Mathison, Gleaner Writer

SPANISH TOWN, St Catherine:

CONSUMERS OF agricultural produce in St Catherine will have an abundance of food items to choose from this festive season and beyond, diminishing earlier fears that basic agricultural food items would be scarce for the holidays because of the sustained dry spell that hit farmers earlier this year.

Many St Catherine farmers, especially those in the Above Rocks, Ewarton, Guy's Hill, Bog Walk and other farming communities were among the hundreds of farmers who complained of losing crops because of the drought.

Now that the rains have started, the farmers say they are seeing a turnaround in yield, some even complained that too much water is affecting crops like string beans, cabbage, carrots and other underground tubers.

However, farmers have assured that there will be no shortage of agricultural food supply for the Christmas and the New Year because they are experiencing bumper crops of yams, vegetables, sorrel and other crops; an oversupply that has caused prices to fall drastically in all St Catherine markets.

Lascelles White, a peasant farmer who supplies the Ewarton, Linstead, Spanish Town and Coronation markets, told The Gleaner that he is seeing an increase in all the crops he planted.

"No food will be short this Christmas; we getting so much water. It is not good for my string beans cabbage and carrots, but mi give thanks say we get the rain because mi have nuff food," White stated.

Price reduction

Easton Williams, who has his farm at the border between St Catherine and St Ann, sells at the Linstead market. He supported the argument that the increased yield he is experiencing has forced him to reduce prices on tomatoes, cabbage, sweet pepper, and other vegetables and fruits.

"I am selling tomato for $50 a pound and cabbage for $30 because too much inna the market," he pointed out.

Meanwhile, checks at the Portmore, Spanish Town, Ewarton, Linstead and Bog Walk markets have revealed that prices on most vegetables have been reduced by as much as half the original price.

Dorothy Bent, a shopper at the Spanish Town market, told The Gleaner that she is happy with the abundance of agricultural produce.

"I can buy my food for Christmas and don't have to worry about shortages," she said gleefully.

rural@gleanerjm.com