LUCEA, Hanover — The Hanover Community Market and Business Fair staged by the Social Development Commission (SDC) in Lucea last Friday appears to have satisfied vendors and shoppers on the whole, despite the rain.
Jeremiah Dehaney, founder of Bay’z, a company located in Hanover that produces turmeric products, was happy with the interest shown by the public.
“It was 100 per cent excellent. We do not watch the sale, we are currently on promotion and from the response from persons, who have visited and purchased, it was excellent, especially in a time like this where everybody is gravitating to turmeric,” Dehaney told the Jamaica Observer.
Omar Frith, the SDC’s deputy executive director with responsibility for strategic planning and communications, was also pleased.
“What we are seeing here so far would give us sufficient evidence to conclude that it was a resounding success,” stated Frith.
“We were in St Elizabeth yesterday [Thursday] and unfortunately we had an early interruption of rain. We are thankful, nevertheless, that people were able to experience some of the produce, but once we got to Hanover this morning it would seem as if the fact that we ended prematurely in St Elizabeth, we had a double dose of support [in Hanover],” added Frith.
He said a total of 24 local farmers, small shop operators and distributors from the parish, as well as 27 farmers from Hanover, Westmoreland, and St Elizabeth participated in the fair.
“The farmers, many of them have sold off what they have come here with. Many of the LEIs [Local Economic Initiatives], as you are observing, are having many sales opportunities happening. So we are happy with the turnout and the success that the farmers are having,” stated Frith.
One shopper, who gave her name only as Janet, said she appreciated the market but was a bit disappointed that she did not get all the plants she had wanted.
“I am not too interested in the vegetables as I am interested in the plants. I am a bit disheartened because I did not get to choose any of the flowers that I like. I am trying to make arrangements with a lady from Norwood [St James] to get some plants from her,” said Janet who braved the rain.
However, she conceded, “It is a good look, and I think Hanover could get more of this. I really do appreciate this.”
Frith explained that the initiative was coordinated and implemented locally by the Hanover parish office with the support of local political representatives: the Hanover Municipal Corporation, Rural Agricultural Development Authority, Jamaica Agricultural Society, Lucea Mayor Sheridan Samuels, Member of Parliament for Hanover Western Tamika Davis, and councillor of the Lucea Division, Easton Edwards.
He noted that while patrons observed the COVID-19 protocols, for the most part, there were instances where interventions had to be made.
“There are moments of concern. There may be a number of stalls where the prices are exceptionally low, so you do have from time to time more than five persons gathering. So we had to go and remind persons of the maximum count that can occur. But we also have the health department here observing and providing us with the requisite tips to say here are areas that you need to look out for, and we implemented the necessary recommendations right away,” said Frith.
He said that another fair is planned for Hopewell in Hanover, but the date has not yet been finalised. However, another fair will be held in Negril at Norman Manley Beach Park this Friday, October 30.
After that, the fair will staged in Portland and Kingston and St Andrew, stated Frith.
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