Local romaine numbers up
Some local farmers are seeing more green since the romaine lettuce recall in the United States.
And chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS), James Paul, suggested they were smiling all the way to the bank..
“I spoke to a few producers who are making very good sales at the moment and to my mind they are benefiting from the fact that people are not getting access to the imported romaine lettuce that they are used to,” Paul said.
He was speaking yesterday during a Press conference at BAS headquarters, The Grotto, St Michael.
Earlier this month, the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a recall on romaine lettuce after people in the US and Canada fell ill because of an E-coli outbreak.
Days later, however, the FDA officials said that romaine lettuce, except those produced on California’s Central Coast growing region, was safe.
Meanwhile, Paul said this issue highlighted the need for a greater relationship between farmers and buyers. “Before we had all kinds of excuses being provided as to why locally produced romaine lettuce could not be used. This is what the agricultural sector has to face on a continuous basis. But now they recognise there is an issue and they cannot get it, well of course we are getting the sales now. “And it says to me that what needs to happen is that there needs to be a better working relationship between producers and buyers in the market.” He then called out some businesses that often gave questionable excuses for not normally buying local produce. “We cannot have a situation where every time our local producers try a product, there is some excuse as to why it cannot work, whether or not the tourists don’t like it. “But what we are seeing is that tourists come to this country and support local fruits and vegetables in a big way. They don’t mind eating it, yet you find there is a resistance from hotels and some restaurateurs about supporting our locally produced products,” Paul added.
CEO of the Barbados Agricultural Society, James Paul.