APP Media Release: Improved markets important to farming sector
Fresh produce markets in the Caribbean should ideally be a space for sellers, buyers and visitors, including tourists, to ‘circulate’. There would be no front and no back in the new stylish circular, domed-roof model agricultural market. That’s the vision recommended in an ‘assessment of the adequacy of marketing infrastructure with specific focus on the needs of small farmers’ that was recently concluded through the CARICOM Secretariat under the policy component of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Intra-ACP Agricultural Policy Programme (APP).
‘We must come to the realisation that markets for fresh agricultural produce cannot simply be a heavy concrete structure, with a big iron gate, and people selling outside because they want to be ‘in front’ to catch the good prices or because there is never enough space for the people who want to do the vending,” Consultant, Dr Lennox Sealy said.
Dr. Sealy described market infrastructure as ‘any physical facility or tangible facilitating arrangement that permits the flow of agricultural products from farm-gate to consumer’. This includes the physical structures found in public, municipal or retail markets, private or public farmers markets, vendors market, wholesale markets and supermarkets. The one common element in these ‘markets’ is that they provide appropriate spaces to facilitate the sale of agricultural products by the farmers themselves, vendors, or in the case of supermarket operations, a ‘self-service’. Essentially, ‘market infrastructure’ should meet the marketing requirements for fresh agricultural produce, such as fruits, vegetables, roots crops, herbs and spices.