Locally organised Farmers’ Markets are yet to make the kind of mark that they seek to make in terms of providing a recurring assembly of farmers or their representatives selling the food that they produce directly to consumers and in effect enabling the creation of close and often lasting bonds of mutual benefit amongst farmers, shoppers and communities. Yet, for all their limitations, there is no mistaking the commendable effort which the New Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC) continues to make to create rewarding linkages between buyers and sellers from across the far-flung regions of the country.
A few times a year the GMC stages its Farmers’ Markets in various parts of coastal Guyana, the event providing modest numbers of buyers and sellers the opportunity to trade. On Saturday, at the D’Urban Park venue, the numbers were below what they might have been, some of the attendees making the point that the relatively modest participation might have been averted if, as had originally been planned, it had been held on the Independence Anniversary weekend.
This newspaper was told that the logistics of staging such an event so close to the blue ribbon Flag Raising Ceremony meant that the Farmers’ Market had to ‘stand down’. Still, it is difficult not to resoundingly applaud the persistence of the GMC. Arguably, consideration should be given to decoupling this agency from the Ministry of Agriculture, affording it the flexibility to work independently with farmers (without the administrative, budgetary and operational restraints that customarily affect government ministries) while remaining part of the state infrastructure to oversee the forward movement of the agricultural sector…..