Sorrel rare due to late harvest

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On Thursday, a customer buys sorrel from a vendor at the roundabout near Maritime Plaza in Barataria. – ROGER JACOB

The National Agricultural Marketing and Development Corporation (Namdevco) said the scarcity of sorrel for Christmas 2021 was in part due to the delay in the harvest.

He said farmers expect to continue harvesting until early February.

CEO Nirmala Debysingh-Persad said the organization had made a three-month projection based on the farms it monitors.

“The harvest is not complete right now, as we expected this month, but farmers expect to continue harvesting until January, possibly early February.

“We had a later harvest than normal. It is an effect of climate change on production. “

Kumar Seepersad, a sorrel vendor at the Barataria sea roundabout, said part of the problem was that farmers had not planted as much this year because vendors struggled in 2020, one reasons being the police of the company.

“We’ve been selling sorrel here for almost 30 years. Now, last year’s company, they’re starting to lead us from here. When they started leading us, sales slowed down and we had to get the goods back to the farmers.

“We suffered a loss last year because of the intervention of the company police – but the other police are coming to buy. There are people from all walks of life, billionaires come here and buy, people from all over the country. This is the only place where sorrel is found in abundance.

On Thursday, a vendor pours sorrel on a table for sale at the roundabout near Maritime Plaza, in Barataria. – ROGER JACOB

“So after that, because of the intervention, the farmers did not plant large quantities, because last year they were beaten. “

Another salesperson, Andy, said there wasn’t much of a shortage but the police presence was causing problems.

“Due to the additional police preventing the crowds, people cannot come and collect their sorrel. “

Agricultural Society (ASTT) vice president Devica Sookoo said she didn’t see much sorrel in the markets she visited.

“I haven’t seen plentiful or plentiful sorrel in the market this year compared to what we’ve seen in previous years, so I’m not sure if there is a seed shortage or seed availability. I attended the Chaguanas retail market on Thursday and saw a very limited supply of sorrel, and whoever had it, it was very expensive. Normally we would see three books for $ 25 on the freeway, now it’s two books for $ 25. As a farmer myself, I would have sold three books for $ 25, two for $ 20 in the past. “

In contrast, many people have commented on the availability of mangoes, as the trees do not normally bear at this time of year.

Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat said this was based on weather factors.

“In times of excessive heat, trees can flower in response to ‘stress’. The mixture of sun and rain also provides the perfect conditions for some trees, like the cocoa tree, to experience a second flowering period.

“Much of what we see is related to changing weather conditions, including sun, rain, wind, and daytime and nighttime temperatures. Flowering plants / trees are particularly sensitive to small changes, especially tomatoes. “

Sorrel vendors try to make sales on Thursday at the roundabout near Maritime Plaza in Barataria. – ROGER JACOB

Sookoo said she has also seen pigeon peas in the Felicity area, although their normal growing season is January through March.

The president of the Association of Supermarkets, Rajiv Diptee, said that apart from sorrel, he was not aware of any shortages of products.

“There are seasonal products, like sorrel. I think it could be a supply and demand issue. And take the rains into account. And we all know the inputs for agriculture and the things they use have gone up and taken a hit with foreign currencies. So I don’t know what the other factors would be.

“Right now we are able to transport as much produce as we can get locally from our national supply as far as farmers and vegetable suppliers are concerned. Much of the produce in the stores comes from local farmers’ markets and other arrangements for product suppliers. “

Regarding imported products, he said, “This is something that we have had no complaints against per se with regard to the requests that go through the stores. For the most part, we are stocked with Christmas favorites – that would be the Gala. apples, grapes – those things that are more fashionable at Christmas. I have not had any problems with either stores or customers reported to the association. “

ASTT President Darryl Rampersad said the high prices of some items such as hot peppers are due to heavy rainfall affecting farmers.

“We’re unprepared for some of the factors that come with climate change, and unfortunately for us that includes the extra rainfall, and if you look at some of the areas outside, our farming projects, including Jerningham, Plum Mitan and those areas – some of these areas have not been desalinated or drained for years, so these are issues that farmers face on a daily basis.

“On the other hand, another factor of climate change is when we are approaching the dry season and farmers are running out of water. So we are not creating an equal balance so that our farmers can produce well all year round.

Sookoo said areas that had been heavily affected by the flooding included Plum Mitan, which produces cucumbers and watermelons, Fishing Pond, which produces hot peppers and cucumbers, and Jerningham, which produces papayas, sweet potatoes and corn.


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