Drought drives food prices up in Morant Bay
Deon Green, Gleaner Writer
MORANT BAY, St Thomas:
THE PRICE of most agricultural produce has doubled in the Morant Bay market due to the shortage of crops caused by the prolonged drought.
Vendors say they expect the situation to worsen as consumers are refusing to buy the products at the increased prices.
A vendor who identified herself only as Pearl told The Gleaner, "People used to be out here waiting to get food from mi, and si dey now, nothing not selling," she said, as she pointed to her stall of tubers and vegetables.
The price of tomato is up from $50 to $100 per pound, yam has moved from $49 to $100 per pound, cabbage from $60 to $80 for each pound and Irish potatoes has moved from $50 to $90 per pound.
"We used to get most of our things to sell from the Coronation Market in Kingston, but they have raised the prices, and we have no choice as it costs to go and come from Kingston," another vendor added .
Reneny Walker, acting marketing officer of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, St Thomas, said several of the farmers have no irrigation system and are dependent on rain. As such, he noted that the condition has worsened with the drought. "We are experiencing severe drought conditions across the parish, and normally, when we have such experience, the farmers resort to land preparation."
Walker told The Gleaner that the main crops that are affected by the drought in St Thomas are cabbage, tomato and other vegetables.