Soufriere farmers turn to vending after losing hotel market
Farmers of the Belle Vue Farmers’ Co-operative in Soufriere, who recently lost their main market as a result of the coronavirus, have now turned to roadside vending.
According to the farmers, whose main market were the hotels, they were forced to find other markets for their produce due to the closure of many hotels across the island.
Some of the farmers set up shops along the roadside, while others travel to various parts of their communities to sell their produce in vehicles.
The situation has also resulted in the farmers being paid late by their co-operative. They were usually paid within seven days of selling to it, prior to them losing their main market. In addition to this, the co-operative is now only able to purchase approximately a quarter of the amount of produce it usually purchased from the farmers.
The farmers say that at the moment, their produce, which consists of root crops, vegetables and provisions, are selling fairly well on the road, but their future is uncertain. They say if their situation does not improve soon, it will become dire.
A farmer who has approximately 4,000 pounds of cabbage on his hands is now wondering where he will find a market for all of it.
“We have lost our main market. Right now, we are just hoping things will improve,” a farmer told Loop News.
Loop News understands that the co-operative is in the process of sending a proposal to the prime minister to seek some form of assistance for the farmers.