COVID-19 deals serious blow to Black Bay Farmers Co-operative
Black Bay Farmers and Consumers Co-operative Society secretary, Jeanell Garness
The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a severe blow to the Black Bay Farmers and Consumers Co-operative Society Ltd, forcing it to turn to social media platforms to complement its sales strategy.
“The Black Bay Farmers and Consumers Co-operative Society has experienced a 75% drop in sales as a result of COVID-19,” Jeanell Garness, secretary of the co-operative told Loop News in an interview.
She lamented that their largest clientele, the hotels, have been closed.
Garness said since the lockdown of the country a few months ago, the Black Bay Farmers and Consumers Co-operative Society has sold to Massy Stores, another of its clients, only a few times. She said that right now the farmers are allowed to contact the store directly to sell their produce.
“Since the Black Bay Farmers and Consumers Co-operative can’t buy all the produce of the farmers, they now have to find alternative markets to sell their produce,” Garness said.
According to her, the first step they took to deal with the impact of the coronavirus was to move to social media platforms such as Whatsapp and Facebook to tap into the household market.
“We have been receiving orders from households, business places and even from the staff of the Laborie Credit Union to a great extent,” she said.
Among some of the products produced by the co-operative society are watermelons, cucumbers, tomatoes, pineapples, sweet potatoes, cantaloupes, honeydew and bell peppers.
Over the years, the Black Bay Farmers and Consumers Co-operative Society has received managerial assistance from the Laborie Credit Union which has resulted in it becoming a more viable entity.
In 2013 the Laborie Credit Union signed a charter with the Black Bay Farmers and Consumers Co-operative Society and the Laborie Fishers and Consumers Co-operative to foster cooperation among them and to allow the credit union to share managerial and other resources with those entities.
According to Garness, who is also the Member Relations Marketing and Projects Officer of the Laborie Credit Union, the Black Bay Farmers and Consumers Co-operative Society has benefited from such a partnership.