Pineapple glut hits Tangle River,St James
Pineapple farmers from Tangle River in the hills of South St James are calling on the authorities to consider establishing a factory that can make by-products of pineapple, as a means of reducing the glut that is affecting their livelihood.
Kenroy Kellier, the second-place champion farmer for St James, is suggesting that the establishment of a factory in Tangle River or in another neighbouring community would go a far way in preventing pineapples from going to waste.
"During a three-months period covering May, June and July each year, we have a lot of pineapple in the field. We are not able to get anyone to buy during this period. It is very slow," Kellier told the WESTERN STAR in an interview near his 15-acre pineapple farm in Tangle River.
"I think the Government, working through a public-private partnership, should seek to establish a factory that can offload the excess pineapples. A lot of pines are being spoiled in the field. If we have a factory, we, as farmers, would welcome such an initiative as it will ease the plight we are now facing," he said.
"When pine not selling, like now, we have to sit and look at each other, wanting to help but are unable to," Kellier shared as he expressed his frustration over the glut in pineapple.
"We need buyers for our pineapples. Right now, no work not going on for the youth them - now and then we get a couple of them to come in the field, but they are now sitting on the roadsides without work."
Loxley Anglin, a farmer for more than 20 years, says the pineapple glut is terrible.
"We don't have any hotel markets - there are other farmers from Ginger Hill who have the hotel market, but it's only when their crops run out that they will come to us. We can't always depend on that because they are planting too," he said.
"If we get market, the business of growing and selling pineapples can be profitable," Anglin added.
Meanwhile, Gregory Wint, councillor for the Welcome Hall Division in the St James Municipal Corporations, said he saw the glut coming.
Wint, who shares municipality border with Everest Coke, the councillor for the Maroon Town Division, said a factory could be one of the solutions to the excessively abundant supply of pineapples in that general area.
"Setting up a factory would be a good idea, but getting access to lands has been very challenging in the area as most lands are privately owned."
Wint said that he anticipated that the area would be faced with an oversupply of pineapple because more and more people in the Tangle River and adjoining communities have gravitated to planting several varieties of pineapples.
"Every month, over the last year and a half, we observed that approximately five acres of land have been transformed into pine production," he said.