Mainstay’s Pineapple production has been decreasing over the last three years, according to Amazon Caribbean (Amcar), which says the farmers’ association has been unable to meet demand to sustain a factory.
In a statement, Amcar said the situation is due to the fact that farmers did not replant sufficient acreage of organic pineapples. As a result, the company has been working for almost one year with Mainstay and other Region Two villages and other stakeholders to increase the acreage of organic pineapples in other villages.
The statement was released in response to a Guyana Times story, ‘Mainstay farmers need more markets for their pineapples,’ in which a farmer was quoted as saying that Europe is buying products from another country because it is being sold at a cheaper price.
Amcar, which exports canned organic pineapples, said although the European market is buying produce in large quantities from Asia at a cheaper price, markets are still available for products certified organic. For this reason, it said that since 1997 when Amcar was certified by a recognised international body as the sole organic producer in Guyana, the company has been able to maintain a niche market against Asian suppliers.
Amcar noted as a result of the decrease in production it embarked on a project with the villagers, NGOs READ, CARILED, SBB, IICA, private companies, private farmers and Amerindian communities to increase the acreage in other villagers in order to supply sufficient volumes to sustain a factory. The company said it made clear its position that the problem is at the supply end of production at a meetings it has held from the first year that it has occurred.
“AMCAR has constantly indicated that once all the conditions are met to be competitive, it has a market for pineapples and fruits processed in Mainstay factory,” the statement said. “Any failure to supply finished products leads to penalties to be paid to the customer,” it further noted.
The company expects that the representative of the farmers’ association who attended the meetings would have reported clearly to the farmers and villagers the facts about the market. Amcar also discussed with villagers the possibility of processing other crops in the Mainstay factory in order to keep it open year-round and provide jobs. Two villagers were identified for the first phase of cultivation.
The company refuted claims published the Guyana Times report that its markets have dried up, noting that this misinformation could be detrimental to its image, and the confidence of stakeholders who have engaged in the project.
Amcar noted that it has secured markets for organic products from Guyana, which are in no way preferential price markets like for sugar or rice. “To keep these markets, Guyanese products must be of impeccable quality and competitive,” it added, while noting that there is still room for Guyanese products if all stakeholders stay focused and strive to develop organic agriculture and agro-forestry such as the one the company has been advocating over the last five years.