by Shawn Cumberbatch
Calling a Bajan a breadfruit swapper might not be so bad after all.
That’s because Barbadians are being given an opportunity to exchange the commodity for cash due to an initiative within the Ministry of Agriculture.
But with the crop reportedly “very plentiful” across the island now, those seeking to sell may have to settle for a price lower than they might have anticipated.
With the Ministry of Agriculture stepping up its focus on ago process, specifically producing by-products from items including cassava, sweet potato and breadfruit, the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation today notified the public it was in need of breadfruits to produce flour.
“Money does grow on trees. Don’t let your breadfruits go to waste, earn some extra cash from them. The BADMC’s Food Promotion Unit is buying breadfruits at $1.50 each,” the notice posted by Randal Banfield of the BADMC’s Food Promotion Unit stated.
“Booking your spot is absolutely necessary as daily space is limited… Non-registered farmers/householders are to produce a valid form of ID and proof of address.”
Sources within the ministry told Barbados TODAY that Government was looking to fully capitalise on the opportunities to earn additional revenue while introducing a range of locally made products via the BADMC.
In the case of the breadfruit buying initiative, the official said it was simply part of the effort to ensure there was a constant supply of raw material for drying and process at the BADMC’s Christ Church-based unit.
Officials hope to buy as many as 50 daily, a number they want to restrict because of limited staff and processing capabilities.
“People will need to book their sales because there is limited capacity in terms of peeling and drying per day so if you are selling to the BADMC it would be wise to reserve a spot,” the source said.
“They will also try to get the payments out as soon as possible. Ideally the goal is not to have the breadfruits too young or too ripe. If they are too ripe they can’t be used so a firm breadfruit, not young and green, is desired.”
It is understood that up to now a couple suppliers were providing the BADMC with breadfruits, but of late have not been keen to do so because the price for the commodity fell.
“It is demand and supply thing like any other commodity. When things are plentiful the price drops and breadfruits are very plentiful now,” an agricultural official noted.
Officials are also hoping to match their breadfruit purchases with sales of the flour produced from it, although it costs more than the traditional wheat flour.
It was pointed out that while “the flour has been picking up in sales”, the challenge was that “a lot of people don’t know about it”.
With a one pound pack of breadfruit flour selling for $10 officials hope its marketability as a healthier alternative will help grow sales. firstname.lastname@example.org