Onion importation hurts local farmers’ sales – Barbados

The Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) is calling for tighter controls on the importation of onions when local supply can meet demands, as farmers now face stiff competition from imported produce.

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The association’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) James Paul made the call as he reported that while farmers are reaping favourable onion crops at this time, they are not getting enough buyers because imported onions are being sold at a cheaper price.

“You have private players causing havoc on the local market for our onion producers at this point in time,” he lamented.

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“The situation is bad because I have a farmer sitting down now with 300 bags of onions and cannot get them sold, and there are more onions coming. I know another farmer who is coming in with another field of onions soon and he will get challenges when they come in. Some farmers get through because they are well connected, but think about those farmers who don’t.”

Paul therefore urged the Government to provide greater support for farmers who are producing the crop.

“We need to control the importation of onions where that importation is going to turn out to be detrimental to local producers, especially when we are talking about food security and expanding the agricultural sector at this point in time. If you don’t provide the basis upon which you can expand that sector, you do not provide the necessary encouragement for farmers,” he said.

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Paul complained that while the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) has put measures in place to manage the situation, including not putting imported onions on the market when locally produced ones are available, some importers are not following suit.

He said some private players are importing onions without regard to what is available locally.

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The BAS chief said it was also concerning that while onion farmers are facing an increase in the cost of inputs, including fuel costs, there are those who want to purchase the produce at the same price as 15 years ago.

BAS: Onion importation causing “havoc” for local farmers  Barbados Today

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By Cleo

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