Gonsalves gives farmers 700,000 pound challenge

By Demion McTair. Updated 1:11 a.m., Thursday, July 23, 2020, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).

Kingstown, St. Vincent (ONE NEWS SVG) – Farmers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are being challenged to prepare themselves to help supply some 700,000 pounds of fruit and vegetables to Beaches Resort, when it becomes operational.

Finance Minister, Camillo Gonsalves, said that 700,000 pounds of fruit and vegetables will be consumed at Beaches Resort each year, based on the numbers provided by Sandals.

The foods to be consumed include 82,000 pounds of pineapples, 48,000 pounds of bananas, 37,000 pounds of lettuce, 555,000 eggs, 8,000 pounds of lobster, 90,000 pounds of fish, 1,400 bottles of beer per day, 80,000 lbs of rice annually, 90,000 pounds of flour, annually, and 70,000 pounds of pork, annually.

“Sandals will procure locally produced agricultural goods and seafood from Vincentian farmers and fisher folk, subject to their availability and quality,” Gonsalves said.

Gonsalves said that they repeatedly committed Sandals corporation in the contract “to not import all their food from Miami or elsewhere but to buy their food and their fish from Vincentian farmers and Vincentian fisher folk”.

“I want the farmers and the fisher folk to understand that a massive market for your produce is now sitting in your midst,” the finance minister says.

“You don’t have to call a trader or trafficker to take some boxes down to Trinidad, or across to Barbados, or up to the BVI, there is a market right here that wants to buy 700,000 pounds per year of fruit and vegetables and fish from the farmers and fisher folk of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. That in itself is transformative”, he added.

Sandals’ buy local policy in Jamaica

In 2018, the Jamaica Observer reported that Sandals Resorts International’s (SRI’s) Jordan Samuda said Sandals was committed to supporting local farmers.

He said “the total annual value of produce purchased by Sandals is over J$700 million, while the total value of locally farmed product is over J$500 million annually. On the contrary, the total yearly value of imported produce used by the group is less than J$200 million, primarily items that Jamaican farmers are unable to grow,” Samuda said.

He said that “SRI’s procurement policy was that the resort would endeavour to meet its requirement via the local market, with locally produced items, and would only turn to international sources when it could not,” Jamaica Observer reported.

In 2019, Sandals’ buy local trend continued in Jamaica with another J$500,000 spent on produce, a 5.4 million pounds volume.

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