With the Yuletide season around the corner, Barbadians are being assured local farmers will be able to satisfy the high demand for produce and meats.
Furthermore, chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) James Paul says consumers should be pleased to know that no price hikes are anticipated.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY Paul said he fully expected farmers would be more than capable of filling the shelves and freezers of supermarkets across the island.
With reports surfacing that consumers might have to dig a bit deeper in their pockets this Christmas, he said the pricing policies of supermarkets and farmers differed.
“I don’t know what the pricing policies of the supermarkets will be. Whether or not prices will be more than what they are right now in the case of fruits and vegetables, it usually depends on demand and supply. If we have a good harvest around Christmas time I think that prices will be relatively stable and in fact, in some cases prices have dropped,” Paul said.
“There are certain commodities like cucumbers for instance, that are selling at extremely low prices on the market right now, but when you are seeing those it is a reflection of the level of production that we are having. Sometimes because of the fact that there is no correlation between the farmers you get, from time to time, a glut of a particular commodity comes on to the market and that causes the price to drop.
“Meats are less sensitive to those kinds of fluctuations because the commodities tend to be more stable in terms of supply. Unless the local supply of commodities diminishes significantly I don’t think that you are going to see any big changes in terms of price.
“What I can say is farmers are trying to be sure they are producing for the Christmas season. It has always been a habit but remember that demand is not like what it was in previous years, unless of course you have the tourist market coming back and doing very well. But I think farmers will ensure that they try to meet the demand so I think most likely it should be stable,” he added.
Paul said while vegetable farmers had not been adversely affected by the sweltering heat in recent weeks some livestock farmers had lost small flocks of birds as a result.
He, however, maintained he did not expect those challenges to significantly affect Christmas production.
“In terms of the produce I haven’t heard a lot of farmers complaining that the vegetables were impacted. I have not heard anything to say there were any major impacts.
“I know that in relation to livestock however, certainly during this hot period livestock would have been negatively impacted. It raises the stress levels of the birds and that in itself is a problematic thing because it could affect the growth of the birds,” Paul pointed out. (RB)