Prolonged drought affecting farmers, produce sellers

BY SHANAE STEWART
Observer staff reporter

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

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Jamaica did not experience the normal “May rains” this year, and is currently going through a period of drought which is affecting everyone, especially those who farm or sell in markets for a living.

Some vendors and farmers in the Coronation Market in downtown Kingston shared with the Jamica Observer just how the dry season has been affecting them.

Errol Bailey: “Mi buy my goods from country and the prices go up and sometimes it will come down. Sometimes it go up by $30 or $50 more. Some people can manage and then some can't manage. When the rain fall, we have it much better.”

Deta Harrison: “Because of the drought, the price for things go up. Worm take up the pumpkin and sweet potatoes and we cyaa get any produce. Carrot get expensive, sweet pepper too. Everything. No water nuh deh. Me buy from a farmer in St Mary and the prices raise up pon me by $30 and more. That cause me fi hike up di prices also and the people them a bawl seh them nuh have any money.”

Angela Jarrett: “Mi a sell from my 'eye deh a mi knee', bout 10 or 11. The farmer dem raise the prices nuff, like all $80 and $100. Last week sweet pepper was for $50 and this morning it was for $150. Who usually buy three pounds will buy maybe two and who use to buy a pound afi buy half pound now. Mi daughter pass for Cedar Grove Academy, so you kno me afi go find the school money outa di goods them weh mi sell and it na go so good right now.”

Whitmore Spencer: “Me buy my yam from Trelawny. The price for the yam raise yes, and people a buy less now. Things a sell slow now inna di market.”

Hugh Brown: “All a me dasheen leaves them burn up. Me have 600 suckers and bout 100 burn up inna the drought, so me end up a lose.”

Desmond Kennedy: “Mi sell all sorts of ground produce. The people who I buy from raise the prices by like $30 and $40. People nah buy as much, dem seh them na no money fi buy when it so expensive. We a work fi a $10 or $20 profit right now and sometimes you not even a get it. It bad man.”

'Bobo Kush': “The drought affect me nuff, nuff. Mi plants, like the banana dem, nah get no water. Earth dry, earth a crack. The leaves on the trees dry up and me can't plant nothing ina sun. A water run things”

Balvin Morgan: “Mi a sell for over 25 years and I farm also. Mi sell yam, pumpkin, sweet potato, cocoa, irish potato, corn, etc. The last set of irish weh me plant nuh bear during the drought. Is a big loss that to me.”


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