BVI News

Farmers, fisherfolk earning more at temporary market

The farmers market venue at Sir Olva Georges Plaza in Road Town.

Local farmers and fisherfolk are earning more at their new temporary venue at Sir Olva Georges Plaza on Waterfront Drive in Road Town.

That is according to a member of the Farmers and Fishermen Network, Aragon Dick-Read.

In an interview with BVI News on Tuesday, he said the outlet creates a platform where farmers and fisherfolk can profit more from direct sales.

Agriculture workers had set up a farmers market at the location on March 17 and the recorded success of that first staging has led to the second, which is scheduled for April 14.

There were a total of 17 participants at the first event and Dick-Read hopes the numbers will increase come Saturday.

“We do realize that there is a real need within the farming and fishing sector to provide an outlet direct to the customer, which is why we got the idea to put on the market,” he said.

“It is a very valuable thing because what is going on now is a lot of farmers are forced by the market environment to sell to supermarkets. And while supermarkets support local produce, they buy their produce from foreign markets at subsided prices.”

“So it’s going to be cheaper than it can be produced locally and the supermarkets can’t justify paying much for local produce, because they don’t make much profit on buying local.”

“That’s why they want to buy local produce at a much cheaper price than the farmer really want to sell it for. So, if the farmer can access his own market, then he can make that profit for himself.”

Monthly market

Meanwhile, Dick-Read said they are now hoping to host the market on a monthly basis.

“It was very successful to the point where every other person that attended said we should do this every day or every week. So we are hoping to fill in the demand and putting it on every month for now.”

Besides being a profitable venture, Dick-Read said the market also creates a greater the level of food security and better use of landscape for the territory.

“So, it is a win-win for everyone,” he reasoned.

Market buzzing

In the meantime, City Manager Janice Brathwaite-Edwards gave the initiative a thumbs up.

“I think the utilization of the Sir Olva Georges Plaza is perfect for us to create some commerce in that area,” she told our BVI News.

She said the location captures many sea travellers from the sister islands from the Road Town ferry dock and internationally through the Tortola Pier Park and it draws the attention to the lower Main Street location.

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  1. L says:

    Isn’t that the site of the original market?

    • Market says:

      Of course it is and I am soo happy to see it returned to it. I see a few every Saturday around. I think it should be “officially” every Saturday. Nothing to prepare. The farmers just set up their own stalls and all a we will support them

    • real seekabay says:

      Ok so what? What’s ur super power?

  2. LOL says:

    It should be weekly or twice a week, for everybody to enjoy fresh local produce.

  3. Diplomat says:

    A central market (“Market”) was a cultural meeting place where residents meet to socialize, to barter and to sell farm produce, fish, meat…….etc. The “Market” original site(?) was in front of the olde Admin Building that is now Sir Olva Georges Plaza. As Tortola developed, the “Market” moved around to a)area in front of Happy Lion Restaurant off of the Main Street, b) near the Band Stand…….etc. Its current location close to the Fire Station and round-a-about is a bust.

    Further, with the emergence of supermarkets and improved standard of living and quality of life, the “Market” fell out of favour with residents. Furthermore, the “Market” was not part of Road Town planning and redevelopment; it was a long after thought. As other VI culture, it died.

    Nonetheless, what is olde is new again; the “Market” is making a rebound; it needs a modern and permanent home. Let’s stop slaughtering VI culture, blending other imported culture into the VI’s. If Virgin Islanders are not proud of their heritage and culture, who will? Everyone else is proud of their culture.

    Moreover, though the territory will not be self sufficient in food production, government needs to provide support to farmers and fishermen as much as practical to reduce the food import bill and improve food security. The reality is competing with external producers is a steep challenge. Nonetheless, local farmers must find their niche.

  4. Finally says:

    This needed to happen ages ago. WE DO NOT NEED TO RELY ON GOVERNMENT FOR EVERYTHING!!!! If you know how to do it, DO IT! Great to see this and I hope it’s something that will only improve with time.

  5. @what says:

    elsewhere in the world people are fierce protectors of local farmers’ markets, choosing to pay over the slashed prices offered by the supermarkets for good, fresh, excellent-tasting produce. This is a matter of pride and education. Artisans such as Aragorn and his fellow farmers/producers should be applauded and supported. Be wise – buy local.

    • Seashelle says:

      It is hard in these times to pay $6+ for the farmer lettuces and the other stuff he grows and also imports from Dominica is so expensive. I still have my roof to fix.

  6. Interested says:

    And I say Amen and Amen!

  7. Resident says:

    I always shop local for fresh produce. There is nothing like fresh produce. I just started a herb and vegetable garden. I am so funny about what I eat. I don’t really care for foods, meats and poultry that is imported. My sister who lives in the States was telling me that most of the chickens we eat is imported from Russia and China.

  8. Should says:

    I think it should be a permanent farmers market. I think it will do well if open everyday. Who don’t love a farmers market? Let the farmers do their thing by supplying us the public with fresh products. I prefer fresh laid eggs, herbs that just came out out of someone’s garden a mangoe that just came off the tree etc…

  9. fish? says:

    I loved it and was very happy to support – but I didn’t see any fisherfolk there – I happily would have bought fish.

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