Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
January 30, 2008
The Kittitian Fruit Plate which began as a concept to encourage the production of fruit and find a market for its sale continues to do well.
Marketing Officer of the Department of Agriculture Mr. Alistair Edwards revealed that the idea was that of his Marketing Unit, when it began pushing the production of several goods at the closure of the sugar industry. The Unit did market research and found that there was an unsatisfied demand for assorted fruit.
He said that whenever the Agriculture Department is invited to an event the representatives make sure to take Kittitian Fruit Plates which can form part of the refreshments for the event. The Marketing Officer said that farmers bring the fruit to the Department which then puts the various fruit together considering that individual farmers may harvest only one type of fruit. Edwards noted that several farmers package the fruit plate themselves for sale at their vending stalls.
Marketing Officer Edwards said that occasionally when the supermarkets put the fruit plates together the local fruit may be mixed with imported fruit. He said that once other fruit come back in season the Department would encourage the supermarkets to use all local fruit. The Marketing Officer said that the fruit plates usually cost $5.00 but larger portions can be eight or 10 dollars. He explained that at the end of the day there is usually a happy hour when fruit plates may be sold at $3.00 since the object is to sell fresh fruit daily.
Marketing Officer Edwards also took the opportunity of the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service interview to encourage all farmers to grasp the cooperatives concept. He said that one of the challenges of farmers is crop scheduling, and now that the Royal St. Kitts Hotel and Casino (Jack Tar) and the Four Seasons Resort have expressed interest in receiving local produce, it would benefit farmers to join the St. Kitts Farmers Cooperative Society which would provide assistance to that end. The Marketing Officer stressed that in order to supply the demand on the part of the increasing number tourism-related businesses, it was necessary to approach the challenge as a group.
Edwards further noted that the St. Kitts Farmers Cooperative Society had been operating for approximately five years but not all farmers were taking advantage of the services provided by organisation.