Hutchinson issues warning to middlemen who profit from farmers

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

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MINISTER without portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries JC Hutchinson says middlemen who buy farm produce cheap and sell them at exorbitant prices should get out of the system or pay the farmers more.

Addressing farmers at the New Forest-Duff House Agro Park, in Manchester on Friday, the minister said that “when the middlemen come and buy from you, you get little or nothing for your product”.

“It does not matter which crop it is, the middlemen make all the profit. I say to all of them, if they cannot pay the farmers a better price, we are going to do something to bypass them,” he added.

The minister told the farmers that he would be having discussions with the chief executive officer (CEO) of a large company with a distribution network across the island, with the objective of getting that entity to buy cash crops from farmers for distribution islandwide.

Hutchinson pledged to return with good news for the farmers.

He also urged them not to cut back on production.

“This Government intends to grow agriculture, and I have set a target that by the end of this year, we must be growing agriculture by a minimum of 20 per cent,” the minister said.

Hutchinson said that the target would not be achieved if they reduce production, so a way must be found to make it worthwhile for the farmers to produce more.

The minister lauded the farmers who are engaged at the agro park, noting that it is the leading one in the island.

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