Minister defends rented tents for Farmers Markets

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    Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat has defended the use of rented tents at some Farmers Markets.

    The Minister commented yesterday after a ceremony to mark the start of trading at the Wholesale Farmers’ Market in Chaguanas.

    According to Minister Rambharat, people sometimes fail to consider “the real cost” to the State of engaging in business.

    He said: “One needs to consider the transactional cost in some of these things. For instance, the State buys 50 tents; 10 tents rip and nobody repairs them so you are down to 40. Then there is someone who has to come to work, load these 40 tents in a vehicle and transport it into the farmers market and 16 daily-paid employees have to come put them up and if the person driving the vehicle to transport the tent falls ill then you are in trouble. A lot of people do not think about the real cost of the State doing business and so we have maintained that [rental] arrangement with the tents until we get to a point where we can establish some level of permanence in an area.”

    Regarding operation of the Woodford Lodge Wholesale Farmers’ Market, the Minister said: “I have said to the NAMDEVCO Board I would like to test a farmers market at this location now and I would like that from Monday to Friday we do the wholesale business and I would like Saturday morning that we shift the farmers market from MALF’s Head Office compound to this facility and see how it goes. I also believe that the country needs a night market as people come through the traffic and get home late so as we move to the Divali and Christmas seasons, I would like to see a retail farmers market right here, operating from time to time, in the night. Most importantly I would like that if we are using this facility Monday to Friday for wholesalers and Saturdays for the farmers’ market, that we make it available on Sundays to all sellers wherever they are. This is a facility that is built for vending and should be available for vendors wherever and whomever they are.”