Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar has called out those here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines who are overcharging their produce.
Minister Caesar during a call to WEFM’s Activated Mornings Program said that a number of persons are buying the produce at low prices and reselling them at prices that are too expensive.
“A lot of this food that we have let us make it affordable for the person who is in the bank working, or in the public service working or Christal who is in studio, but I am saying that there several persons within the country who are trading goods and they are selling the goods too expensive.
I am not fearful to say that, I am not fearful—because if I could say when the traffickers take the goods to Trinidad and Tobago, that they are people in Trinidad who are taking the goods from the Traffickers underpriced and selling it for exorbitant amounts of money,” he said.
The Agriculture Minister spoke specifically to those buying bananas in the rural areas of the country and selling them overpriced in capital city Kingstown.
“There are persons who are moving bananas from South Rivers and Diamonds where they are buying it cheap and when they get to Kingstown they’re jacking up the price,” he said.
Minister Caesar said this practice of selling goods at exorbitant prices is deterring locals from buying locally produced goods.
He said that while he understands that the sellers have costs to cover, there has to be a level of reasonableness when it comes to pricing goods.
A release from the Agriculture Ministry noted that Butternut squash is being bought from farmers for between $2.00 – $3.00 per pound and is retailed in some supermarkets for as high as $8.00 per pound.
The Ministry will be publishing at the end of February a cost of production manual to assist farmers in properly calculating the cost of production for all commodities produced in SVG.
The national consultation with farmers continues in the month of March.