It’s a waste!

Farmer forced to ‘give away’ two tonnes of pawpaws

The pawpaws are plentiful, but the buyers are few. And for this reason, local farmer Arthur Smith has resorted to virtually giving them away from the roadside.

The St Lucy farmer, who has specialized in pawpaw production for the last 15 years, sells to wholesalers and retailers. However, he is struggling to get his produce sold this year, and has almost two tonnes on his hands.

Arthur Smith has almost two tonnes of pawpaws on his hands and has resorted to selling them from the roadside.

“We have a surplus, so I have to sell from the side of the road rather than throwing them away. I’m selling them at a reduced price now. Two for $10, or sometimes three,’ he told Barbados TODAY from Warrens, St Michael, where he has set up to sell his produce.   

In addition, Smith said he gave some away to the district hospitals and the psychiatric hospital.

In seeking to explain the reason for his plight, Smith blamed an invasion of imported fruit.

“I sell to wholesalers and persons who retail, but because of the influx of the imports it is difficult because the importers have direct access to the hotels and supermarkets. When the backup started, I realized that the supermarket was filled with imported pawpaws. This is something that needs to be looked into. At a time like this I find it to be disgraceful that things we can easily produce and I’m producing [are being imported].

“I’m producing and some of the same guardians of the heritage of the country are allowing people to borrow foreign exchange, to allow merchants to bring in the things we are producing here and selling them. I consider it to be utter madness. I think it’s very unfortunate at a time like this for people that should know better.”

The farmer has been down this road before, having dealt with a similar problem once in the past. Only he did not believe then that the imported fruits were the culprits.   

With supermarkets not buying from him, Smith told Barbados TODAY he felt as though he had been blacklisted.

“For some of the supermarkets I’m on an embargo because there are some black people in this country when they get a certain opportunity they take it upon themselves to kick other black people in their face, and when they say something about it, they blank you. So I have been blanked, but nevertheless I sell to some people who trade to the same supermarkets,” he added.

Smith’s predicament has caught the attention of Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agricultural Association (BAS) James Paul, who described it as disheartening.

Paul also called on the business community to work with farmers to develop a workable system through which they can source local produce.

“It makes no sense to have farmers out there growing hundreds of acres of produce and when it is time for it to be produced you have members of the business community saying to them, ‘we will not or we cannot buy your produce’ just for a lack of coordination. They find every excuse to do it,” Paul said.

As for Smith’s plight, Paul pledged that by next week his organization would take “some steps” to assist.

“We in the BAS have agreed on some steps which we are going to use to assist Mr Smith. The work will be done by next week.  We need to work with Mr Smith and see how we can help him. They are some lovely pawpaws and we can’t let them go to waste,” he said.

20 Responses to It’s a waste!

  1. Cherylann Bourne-Hayes
    Cherylann Bourne-Hayes December 7, 2016 at 12:03 am

    Why the heck do they import stuff that is right there on the island thus squeezing out the little man?
    Invest in local. You have no idea what is used on the crops in other places. Shame

  2. Jan Hold
    Jan Hold December 7, 2016 at 12:03 am


  3. Wayne P Hoyte
    Wayne P Hoyte December 7, 2016 at 12:18 am

    Make juice

    • Sarah-Lee Bell
      Sarah-Lee Bell December 7, 2016 at 12:24 am

      He has to get creative now. Juice, smoothie, ice cream, fruit bowls

  4. Loretta Griffith December 7, 2016 at 12:56 am

    This is indeed very sad. Why are we importing paw paws when they can be sourced locally? I thought we would try to save precious foreign exchange.
    May the good Lord help and save Barbados.

  5. ithamar carrington December 7, 2016 at 1:47 am

    Barbados need a processing plant for such products ,when in surplus ,preserve and sell later ,everyone will benefit.

  6. Sandra King
    Sandra King December 7, 2016 at 3:16 am

    Get Creative……Approach Hotels…Resorts.
    As the previous person said make smoothies….Juices .
    Barbados has the best fruits and importing……that does not make any sense!!!!!
    Ya all need to support your own locals……at least you know how they have been grown!!!!!!
    Shame on you all……..

  7. Smiley December 7, 2016 at 3:37 am

    Shame on the government of Barbados and James Paul

    • Miche December 7, 2016 at 7:26 am

      This has nothing to do with the government of Barbados or James Paul,,but rather the farming knowledge of the so called farmers… they need marketing skills…. I guarantee that I would be able to get those sold,,given the correct time frame…these men need to hit the road well in advance of reaping time… but NOOOO they wait until the crops are picking ,or till the have sold the majority,,then to mislead people with their anti government,,( No matter who is in power at the time ) ,,comments….. Wise up….. stop blaming imports,,you too can export,,,Also…you farmers ( Planters ) Believe that you are chief cook and bottle wash,,,,You are,tractor driver,, planter,weeder,,, reaper,, storeman, and salesman ,,,It cannot work,,,all you succeed in doing id to drive yourselves to an early grave,,,HIRE A SALES /MARKETING REP,,,,THAT WILL HELP GET YOUR PRODUCE OFF YOUR HANDS

  8. Dwana Hope
    Dwana Hope December 7, 2016 at 4:22 am

    Pickle them and preserve them

  9. Dan Rm
    Dan Rm December 7, 2016 at 5:22 am

    Eat them before they go rotten! Give to the homeless on the street, give to the shelters. There are people that would gladfully eat them. Donate some to the HIV/AIDS food Bank.

  10. CamB December 7, 2016 at 7:45 am

    When u coming back to Warrens want some all like now.

  11. The Negrocrat December 7, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Paw Paw punch should be on sale at all the bars and restaurants in Barbados.

  12. BoBoTheClown December 7, 2016 at 9:18 am

    What a shame.When local farmers are criticize for not planting or tilling the land a situation like this occur,where when we do produce imports take precedence .
    Why not Barbadians first if a product can be produced in enough quantity that can sustain us.? Maybe we prefer to buy and import from elsewhere to booster other peoples economy while ours become more stagnant.

  13. Sheron Inniss December 7, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Miche do you know Mr Smith? I have bought from him and his produce is great. I have family and friends who go to pick peas and we buy other ground provisions. You can get plantains, bananas, plums, etc. Give him a call; maybe he will take you up on that offer. Maybe he does need a marketing strategy. And some of the nonsense that goes on in the farming community is indeed the government’s fault. I think Mr Paul is trying but a fly on the wall tell me that there is no love lost between him and those who are calling the shots.

  14. seagul December 7, 2016 at 11:17 am

    No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in plowing a field as in writing a poem…Booker.T .For a colonized people the most essential value, because the most concrete, is first and foremost the land: the land which will bring them bread and, above all, dignity. Imperialism leaves behind germs of rot which we must clinically detect and remove from our land but from our minds as well…If we don’t support our farmers, we’ll die a slow shameful death.

  15. Kevin December 7, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Come down Redezvous/Maxwell, Ill buy a couple. On another note, there was a farmer that used to grow tomatoes, from St. Lucy as well. Then he would run to the press complaining that the tomatoes aint selling. Then the next two days he would get them sold. Happened two years in a row. Free advertising! Guess it not working out for this farmer.

  16. kathy-Ann Clarke December 7, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    All he has to do now, is give away to whoever passing that way. I am sure they will all be gone at the end of the day.
    Saw him a couple of times there.

  17. Alex Alleyne December 7, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    If you put out a short word on the radio about where the public can find you , or come to cheap side market on Saturdays , you will do very well selling at “discount” price.

  18. Chris Wright December 7, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    It is very sad that in this modern age there has yet to be some form of industrialization to process these products, King sugar is dead, and if people see fit to grow these crops why do they have to be given away rather than processed and sold.
    As a young man who was ecstatic about Barbados gaining independence 50 years ago, the outlook for the country was “Pride and Industry”. Where is the industrialization/ certainly not in the number of hotel rooms I saw sprung up in Barbados over the many years I visited and just saw on my visit for the 50th Anniversary of Independence. There is much to be and can be done for these farmers, and a recommendation would be for them to pool their resources and form a Co-op if it hasn’t been already established and work in a concerted manner for the benefit of all farmers.


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