Scores of people turned up at Arima’s first farmers’ market opposite the Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar on Sunday morning.
The market was expected to be open from 6am until noon, but Newsday was told that by 8.30am, over 75 per cent of the vendors were sold out and organising to leave.
By 10.52 am there were four vendors left and people were still trickling in but left empty-handed and disappointed.
One vendor Khadine Bowen, founder of Masuri Creations and Farmland—producing natural soaps, beauty and dairy products–said the turnout was unexpected. “This is an excellent idea for people who have small businesses, not only for products but for people who have craft like me.
“I was happy to see hand-washing stations and hand-sanitising stations and people were using them. There was no large congregating in one area and people were kept apart.”
Another vendor said some sold out in less than two hours and left. She said, “Farmers didn’t expect this large turnout and it seems people appreciated the initiative.”
A slight drizzle was the only thing that temporarily affected the activities. Still, many other vendors were seen leaving with only a few unsold goods.
Jeremy Ramroop, field officer at the National Agricultural Marketing and Development Corporation, told Newsday 50 vendors were registered to participate.
“At least over 1,000 people passed in and out of here today. This is the first time most of the centers have been a part of something like this. We have spoken to them and asked them to come with a larger supply to extend the time of the market. This week they didn’t bring a large quantity because they didn’t know what consumer flow to expect.
“We made sure vendors didn’t come selling the same thing. There was a mixture of plants, poultry, food, dairy products and local crafts.”
Of the 50 vendors, 60 per cent of what was sold included fresh produce and the rest was other crafts. “This is to create a balance. We won’t bring in three people selling watermelon. We had farmers from all over particularly in areas where the product is in abundance.
“My expectation was high and the number of people that came didn’t surprise me because I have been in this for a long time, and I know Arima has a big population. People shopped in comfort and followed the physical distancing measures in place, so we had no problem with that.”
Ramroop said there is a list from which vendors will be rotated to ensure everyone has an opportunity to sell.
“We will look at what’s missing and we bring them in so there will always be a balance for the customers.”