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Smuggled cabbage bringing unfair competition for local farmers

Smuggled cabbage bringing unfair competition for local farmers

A google image of the purple cabbage and the white cabbageย 

Importers who were granted approval to import purple cabbage into Guyana will be brought under the microscope of the Ministry of Agriculture, after farmers in West Demerara expressed concerns that while permission was granted for the purple cabbage to be imported, the importers are unscrupulously importing regular cabbage and sweet pepper, thus resulting in unfair competition for local farmers. There are two businessmen who were granted permission to import the purple cabbage into Guyana.

The concerns were raised on Thursday during meetings between Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha and farmers along the West Coast, who indicated that the local market is being flooded with imported cabbage, the type of which is grown right here, and which is putting a strain on local farmers who have been investing enormous amount of money to grow their crops and find market for same.

 

BIG Smith News Watch has been reliably informed that two businessmen were granted approval to import the purple cabbage, but might have been mixing the regular cabbage among their consignments from the United States and flooding the local market.

 

The Agriculture Minister has since tasked the National Agriculture Research Institute to make immediate checks to ascertain who is involved in the unscrupulous act, and ensure that action is taken. He admitted that permission was given to import the purple cabbage but not the regular ones. He said checks would have to be made to ascertain the situation with the alleged smuggling of sweet pepper into the country also.

 

NARI is the agency which would grant licenses to companies or investors to import greens and fresh fruits which are in short supply or not available in Guyana.

 

The purple cabbage is usually brought into the country mostly for use by hotels and those within the hospitality industry, as it is often used as a salad. With the restaurants not operating at their full capacity due to the Coronavirus restrictions, the demand for the commodity is not there, but the importers who are still holders of licenses to import the rare commodity, might be mixing the regular cabbage along with the purple cabbage and other supplies.

 

It was also during those meetings on Thursday that the Minister and his team were apprised about the lack of water for cash crop farmers, the need for a farmersโ€™ market, roads to access farmlands, price for paddy, and farmers using unregistered vehicles in the cane fields.

 

Mustapha told the farmers that with respect to the unregistered vehicles, he cannot give permission for those vehicles to use gazetted roads, but encouraged the farmers to supply whatever documentation they have for the vehicles so that GRA can be approached to see whatever assistance can be given to the farmers to have those vehicles registered.