Lo­cal ro­maine num­bers up

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - News -

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.

(Pic­ture by Tre Greaves)

CEO of the Bar­ba­dos Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety, James Paul.

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