THE National Agricultural Marketing Development Company (Namdevco) announced on Wednesday that its farmers' markets on Saturday and Sunday will be postponed until next weekend owing to the amended curfew period of 10 am to 5 am on June 19 and 20.
In its notice announcing the postponement for this weekend only, Namdevco said the Point Fortin farmers’ market will be open as scheduled on Friday from 10 am to 6 pm.
This was confirmed by Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat when he spoke with Newsday.
He said, "Namdevco was prepared to do the markets on Friday. There was very little vendor interest.
“Diego Martin and San Fernando, less than ten farmers said they are willing to attend."
He said the Queens Park Savannah, where one of the markets is held, is now a covid19 vaccination site. Rambharat said there was no response from farmers who use the Chaguanas farmers' market.
"Arima, Couva and Macoya, based on contact with farmers, identified that they are not willing to participate on Friday as it is not a normal market day and customer turnout would be low."
Leader of Government Business Camille Robinson-Regis later repeated Rambharat's comments in the House of Representatives when she answered a question from Couva North MP Ravi Ratiram.
"Namdevco has been in contact with all the farmers markets and the vendors who participate there.
"Namdevco has offered to purchase their items, to include those items in the food market box delivery that is given to the Members of Parliament."
Ratiram asked if farmers would be "compensated for the losses they will incur as a result of this weekend lockdown that is being imposed on them by this government."
Robinson-Regis said, "We have contacted the farmers and they have indicated their unwillingness to participate."