Categorized | Features, Local, News, Opinions

A TOUCH OF UNGODLINESS

Less than six months ago a local farmer told me that he received over two hundred dollars ($200.00) for a bunch of plantain. A couple of months ago another local gardener, in disbelief, expressed that a locally grown melon fetched her $100.00. And last week one of the local hucksters said that his local pumpkins sell for up to $160.00 and sometimes more.

What on earth is happening on Montserrat? Why do we ask for such ungodly prices for locally produced vegetables? It is shameful and disgraceful what we are doing to one another in the name of ‘buyin local’. One locally grown pineapple will sell for $25.00; and one pound of seasoned pepper will cost over $10.00. My, my, oh my! I wonder what price the Dominica boat asked for the same type and quality of vegetable.

Not being a religious man, I should not use words like ungodliness; but knowing that Montserratians are very religious, I am appealing to their emotions as I seek to draw attention to the plight of shoppers. Where else on earth will anyone pay $100.00 for a water melon or $150.00 for the humble pumpkin?  This pricing insanity is not due to inflation or the cost of living. Is it that we are living a sort of madness on Montserrat? Or is it plain ungodliness? How did we get here? How do Montserratians develop their production cost?

Earlier this year my friend Docs gave me some tomatoes he bought in Antigua for $2.00 a pound. At that time tomatoes were selling on Montserrat for $10.00 a pound.  These days we could pay up to $7.00 a pound for local sweet potatoes.  I wonder what the price for cassava is. We know that cassava is big business on Montserrat.  And local dasheen or eddoes might fetch up to $15.00 a pound for a farmer willing to grow them. This must be capitalism Montserrat style! I am confused.

However, just bear with me a little, as I sort to clear my mind. I really meant to say: as I seek to clarify that I truly understand how a bag of imported carrots gets into my shopping basket. An American white farmer will plant, reap and sell a crop of carrots to a buyer.  That buyer would purchase plastics bags to package the carrots. He would transport those carrots from the farm to his warehouse and package them.  Then he would pack those carrots into a ‘20 foot’ container and transport it to the ship. The ship will sail 2000 miles to bring that shipment of carrots to Montserrat. The Montserrat merchant will pay port and customs dues on the cost of the imported carrots. He will also add his profit markup to all his costs and still be able to sell the imported carrots to Montserratians cheaper than he can sell our locally grown carrots.

Imagine, no, not imagine, just simply understand this. The American farmer sold his produce at a profit.  The American buyer of the farm grown carrots made a profit; the American shipping company that brought the carrots to Montserrat made a profit; and the local merchant will make a profit on the imported carrots.  Yet he can still sell the imported vegetable cheaper than the locally produced vegetable.

Now, somebody, please tell me why our locally produced vegetables should cost as much as or more

than imported vegetables.  Labour is cheaper on Montserrat than in America. There is so much

volcano ash in our soil that provides free organic food for the plants. Tractor service is almost free

on Montserrat. And on Montserrat, every farm is less than 10 miles from the market.  So what

make up the price of our local produce? Why, oh why! My, oh my! Why?

Has God left Montserrat? Despite the many blessings mentioned in the recent budget speech and

the call for collective thankfulness, is there a touch of ungodliness running wild on Montserrat?

What do you say?

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Less than six months ago a local farmer told me that he received over two hundred dollars ($200.00) for a bunch of plantain. A couple of months ago another local gardener, in disbelief, expressed that a locally grown melon fetched her $100.00. And last week one of the local hucksters said that his local pumpkins sell for up to $160.00 and sometimes more.

What on earth is happening on Montserrat? Why do we ask for such ungodly prices for locally produced vegetables? It is shameful and disgraceful what we are doing to one another in the name of ‘buyin local’. One locally grown pineapple will sell for $25.00; and one pound of seasoned pepper will cost over $10.00. My, my, oh my! I wonder what price the Dominica boat asked for the same type and quality of vegetable.

Not being a religious man, I should not use words like ungodliness; but knowing that Montserratians are very religious, I am appealing to their emotions as I seek to draw attention to the plight of shoppers. Where else on earth will anyone pay $100.00 for a water melon or $150.00 for the humble pumpkin?  This pricing insanity is not due to inflation or the cost of living. Is it that we are living a sort of madness on Montserrat? Or is it plain ungodliness? How did we get here? How do Montserratians develop their production cost?

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Earlier this year my friend Docs gave me some tomatoes he bought in Antigua for $2.00 a pound. At that time tomatoes were selling on Montserrat for $10.00 a pound.  These days we could pay up to $7.00 a pound for local sweet potatoes.  I wonder what the price for cassava is. We know that cassava is big business on Montserrat.  And local dasheen or eddoes might fetch up to $15.00 a pound for a farmer willing to grow them. This must be capitalism Montserrat style! I am confused.

However, just bear with me a little, as I sort to clear my mind. I really meant to say: as I seek to clarify that I truly understand how a bag of imported carrots gets into my shopping basket. An American white farmer will plant, reap and sell a crop of carrots to a buyer.  That buyer would purchase plastics bags to package the carrots. He would transport those carrots from the farm to his warehouse and package them.  Then he would pack those carrots into a ‘20 foot’ container and transport it to the ship. The ship will sail 2000 miles to bring that shipment of carrots to Montserrat. The Montserrat merchant will pay port and customs dues on the cost of the imported carrots. He will also add his profit markup to all his costs and still be able to sell the imported carrots to Montserratians cheaper than he can sell our locally grown carrots.

Imagine, no, not imagine, just simply understand this. The American farmer sold his produce at a profit.  The American buyer of the farm grown carrots made a profit; the American shipping company that brought the carrots to Montserrat made a profit; and the local merchant will make a profit on the imported carrots.  Yet he can still sell the imported vegetable cheaper than the locally produced vegetable.

Now, somebody, please tell me why our locally produced vegetables should cost as much as or more

than imported vegetables.  Labour is cheaper on Montserrat than in America. There is so much

volcano ash in our soil that provides free organic food for the plants. Tractor service is almost free

on Montserrat. And on Montserrat, every farm is less than 10 miles from the market.  So what

make up the price of our local produce? Why, oh why! My, oh my! Why?

Has God left Montserrat? Despite the many blessings mentioned in the recent budget speech and

the call for collective thankfulness, is there a touch of ungodliness running wild on Montserrat?

What do you say?