Sat | Jun 6, 2020

Trelawny Farmers’ Market gets thumbs down from MP

Published:Saturday | May 23, 2020 | 12:16 AMLeon Jackson/Gleaner Writer
A group of persons in attendance at the Hague Agricultural Show in Trelawny yesterday.
A group of persons in attendance at the Hague Agricultural Show in Trelawny yesterday.

Western Bureau:

VICTOR WRIGHT, the member of parliament for Trelawny North, is pouring scorn on yesterday’s Trelawny Farmers’ Market, which took place at the Hague Showground in the parish, describing it as a farce.

Wright, whose relationship with the Trelawny Branch Society of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) has been somewhat acrimonious, described the event as something that was set up for a particular purpose, which has nothing to do with farming.

“How can you have a farmers’ market in Trelawny and the parish, which plants the most yams in the country, does not have a representative,” questioned Wright. “Even the parish’s leading egg farmer, Mark Campbell, is barred. Everything is not politics and politics is not everything.”

When Campbell was contacted in relation to Wright’s claim about him being barred from the ‘farmers’ market,’ the egg farmer said that he was initially invited, but the invitation was subsequently withdrawn.

“I was invited to come and sell my eggs. The organiser told me it would cost $2,000. However, when I went to pay, I was told not to come. That position has been given exclusively to another farmer. I cannot fathom that sort of explanation,” said Campbell.

Campbell, who is the undisputed champion egg farmer in western Jamaica, said he was flabbergasted by the way he was treated, considering that he has been a recognised farmer in Trelawny since 1980.

“I was invited to a farmers’ market in Kingston by Delroy Chuck (the minister of justice). I went there and was satisfied. Only three other farmers in Jamaica produce the volume that I produce. There was no exclusivity in Kingston but in Trelawny, you are having this kind of nonsense,” added Campbell.

When The Gleaner tried to make contact with Audrey Nelson, who is the acting president of Trelawny Branch Society, her telephone rang repeatedly without an answer.

Trelawny’s Custos Paul Muschett, who made a brief stop at the showground before driving away, told The Gleaner that he was not comfortable with the arrangements there.

“I left for personal reasons. For one, there was no observation of social distancing and two, I was disappointed by the number of farmers present,” said Muschett.

However, Lenworth Fulton, the president of the JAS, was seemingly satisfied with what he saw, describing the event as something good for local farmers.

“This is a good effort to support the farmers. In these times, any support farmers can get is fully appreciated,” Fulton said.