When it comes to farming, the rain can be both a blessing and a curse. No one can argue with how essential water is to agriculture and just about anything else on planet earth, but any farmer will tell you just how devastating too much rain can be. The recent heavy rains resulted in substantial loss of produce for so many of the farmers who supply us. Some produce such as lettuce, bok choy, tomato, cauliflower and quite a few other above ground crops were most affected. Non-greenhouse farmers, which is the majority of farmers in Jamaica, were hardest hit. The Ministry of Agriculture is already predicting a setback in growth in the sector over the next quarter. Brace yourselves, this may result in higher costs for some of these produce in the near future when scarcity sets in. Those with supplies of in-demand items will no doubt raise their prices, and so will everyone else along the supply chain.
We should absolutely be grateful for the increase in the water levels of our reservoirs, but let’s also spare a thought for the farmers, who after many days of tilling the soil and tending to their crops, must now come to grips with hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses overnight. Most of the farmers I have met since launching this business have a genuine love and appreciation for farming. They get immense satisfaction from what they do both from the process itself, in planting and watching their crops grow, and more importantly, from being able to support their families that rely heavily on them in an economy that doesn’t offer a whole lot of other options. If you knew these people personally, and how hard they work at their farms, you could not come away from the realization of how devastating their loss is without feeling something.
In the meantime, continue to buy Jamaican and support our local economy as our framers take the necessary time to get back on their feet. This may not always be possible as imports of some produce may be necessary to supplement the scarcity of some items. But please, continue to choose local produce where possible as we anxiously await the rebound. Some farmers have already put in new seedlings. I for one am excited about our local farmers taking up the growing of strawberries in the hills. I have managed to convince one of our farmers to put in some seedlings. We will be chronicling the growth of these strawberry seedlings over the next few weeks on our soon-to-be launched YouTube channel and other existing social media platforms. If you love strawberries as much as I do, stay tuned for that.