At least thrice monthly, the local company, Biso Investments exports shipments of fresh fruit and vegetables, including pineapple, watermelon, ground provision, and pumpkin to Barbados under an arrangement with two supermarkets on the CARICOM island.
Leading the clutch of agricultural exports is watermelon, the sweet, firm red pulp of the Mickylee variety fruit being a favourite amongst Bajan consumers. Every month Bio Investments purchases between 60,000 and 70,000 pounds of watermelon from local farmers for export, Anil Singh, Bio Investment’s General Manager says. He says that his Bajan consumers strongly favour the size, texture and colour of the Mickylee. Besides, it has a relatively long shelf life, a valuable virtue in the export trade. “Usually we ask the farmers to pick the watermelons two days before we collect for shipment because the cargo spends several days in storage whilst heading to Barbados,” Singh says.
This is the fourth year of what Singh says has been a mutually beneficial arrangement with local farmers, the investment in cultivation being undertaken in the certainty of a ready market. Still, the constant and high demand for watermelon means that the fruit can become scarce though the long-term arrangement between Bio Investment and the farmers means that prices only occasionally become erratic…..