Callaloo farmer loses $350,000 investment
Manchester callaloo farmer Conrad Murray was moved to tears as he once again watched a video depicting a quarter acre of his produce that he was forced to dump.
After investing months of hard labour and his savings into the crop, hoping to reap some benefits, there was no market for the more than 3,000 pounds of produce, he told THE STAR.
The 52-year-old from New Forest believes that the market is too saturated, thus resulting in a strain for farmers like himself to stay afloat.
"Too much people a try do the same thing, so that's why me affi cut and dump me callaloo," he said. "Man order me callaloo and then ago tell me say them plant their own so them nuh bada want mine. Jah know star, is over a truck load of callaloo me just have to waste."
Murray said he would have made an attempt to invest the $350,000 he spent on the callaloo field elsewhere if his partners had communicated that they had other plans. He had eyes set on making back at least half of the money invested.
"Them wouldn't even make me aware so me nuh waste me money. A pon the day when me call them to tell them it's ready them ago tell me say them nuh bada want it and left me in a the dark," Murray revealed. "Right now me devastated because a serious loss this and me money spend out pon workman because me affi pay them $4,000 or $5,000 a day and me nuh make back a dollar."
Added to his expenditures, Murray also has to pay a hefty sum for water to irrigate his farm.
"My water bill come to about $50,000 every month and a that me pay to ensure say all the crops come good, so every angle me a lose," he said. Callaloo, according to Murray, reaches maturity within two months and should be harvested immediately for best results.
"When the callaloo is overgrown it lose its substance and I don't want that so I have to cut them because me want it to have the best look and taste for the consumer," he said. "Callaloo is not a thing that me can keep fi long and hope to make the money in a longer time. Once it ready it have to sell."
The disheartened Murray said it would take a while to recuperate from the losses. He has opted to plant other crops like scallion and thyme, hoping for a positive outcome.
"A company say them want me supply them with some seasoning so me just a hope and pray that all goes well and me can make back me money from this," he told THE STAR.