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Patrons enjoy Denbigh despite low volume of produce

BY DONNA HUSSEY-WHYTE Sunday Observer staff reporter husseyd@jamaicaobserver.cm

Sunday, August 03, 2014    

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After gaining the reputation of showcasing the best of the best in agricultural produce and livestock for over 60 years, this year's staging of the annual Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in Clarendon turned out to be a disappointment to a number of patrons.

According to them, the ground produce no longer have that wow effect and were much less in volume.

However, they all blamed this on the prolonged drought that the country has been experiencing for the past months.

"There used to be a lot more produce and it was more phenomenal in terms of size of the ground produce and livestock," Donovan Carson from St Catherine, who was seen in the livestock area, said. "I expected things to look lusher, but I realise that what they have now are more food, drink and liquor booths. But I guess that could be as a result of the drought."

Winsome Lynch, who journeyed to the show from Kingston, said the famous farmers' market was the one element missing, but booths from corporate Jamaica were a welcome change.

"It was different the last time we were here, which was two years ago," Lynch said. "The good difference between then and now is that you have more booths focusing on different things instead of just food presentations. Now you find more information booths from corporate Jamaica," she said. "I tried to find the farmers' market and there was no farmers' market as we know it. The last time we were here they had the different pavillions with the different parishes with their own displays, but you had a farmers' market that was different. But this time they have the different pavillions but no farmers' market, and we miss that. That is the one thing I am disappointed with. But I'm not disappointed in the show itself because I like the booths with more corporate Jamaica."

Novlette Morris from Kingston also said the introduction of new products was a welcome change.

"You get introduced to new products, which are always good, and I especially like that they are using more Jamaican stuff, like there was lemon grass water, otaheite water, etc. So I like the fact that we getting more Jamaican products, because I think we getting too many drink stuff from Trinidad and I don't like that. The only disappointing thing is that maybe because of the drought we were trying to find more produce to buy, but most of the things that they have were for display."

Sophia Johnson and Anmarie Forbes from Kingston and St Catherine, respectively, said the prices were high but they, too, blamed the demand and supply resulting from the drought.

"I want to buy ground provision, but because of the drought the prices have gone up," Johnson noted.

Yesterday, prizes were awarded to the top three parishes that demonstrated a number of assets in farming to include incremental crop production, marketing plan, market-driven production, livestock development, agricultural disaster risk management, etc.

The first, second, and third prize winners were awarded after field visits and assessment by Rural Agricultural Development Authority officers to Manchester, St Ann and Trelawny, respectively, for phase one of the competition, and Trelawny, St Ann and St Mary, respectively, for phase two.

One male patron said, while the volume of agricultural goods at the show was less, the samples were in good condition.

"Normally, most of the parishes would be producing cabbage now, and you find that that has been reduced, along with tomatoes, carrot, lettuce -- you don't see a lot of those around," he noted. "You have samples of them and in good condition too. For example, the hot pepper and sweet pepper produced under the greenhouse system, you see some of them in good condition. But the volume is not there, so that would have affected the price as in the local markets around. But I am not disappointed, and I would come back next year," he said.

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