Dozens of Sainte-Catherine residents were drawn to the first farmer’s market and economic fair organized last Friday by the Commission de dÃ©veloppement social (SDC).
The event was the first of its kind to be organized on the site of the SDC.
One seller, wicker craftsman Leroy Jones, said he appreciated the SDC’s efforts, adding that his work with wicker began with a vision that has now come full circle with SDC help.
âI started basketry in 1994 after having a vision to cut the wicker vine of a large guango in my community of Planters Hall. I followed the dream, cut the vine and woven a basket, but it wasn’t straight and I practiced until I was successful, âJones said.
He added that he eventually managed to start a business weaving and selling wicker products in parts of Jamaica, but quickly stopped because it was unregulated.
âMy change came in 2017 after I started working as a security guard at a school in my community. There was a worker from the SDC there who asked if anyone knew about basketry. It started with me building 10 baskets and a hat, now I am registered with the SDC to display and sell my crafts. Everything is fine, âJones said.
Meanwhile, Howard Matthews’ Homemade Flava Fire Scotchy Pepper Sauce was one of the âhotâ items at the fair.
âThis pepper is not normal. It’s made from the same ingredients my mom developed 20 years ago, and I’m very happy to be here to present the final product, âMatthews said.
Meanwhile, the parish director of the Greater Sainte-Catherine Social Development Commission, Samuel Heron, said the entity would continue its intervention for the growth of the parish.
âWe (SDC) have a duty to help those we serve economically, emotionally and socially, which is why we are organizing this fair to give farmers, cooks, small businesses and artisans a chance to display and sell their items, âsaid Heron, speaking on the grounds of the SDC facility at Port Henderson Road near Spanish Town, St Catherine.
Declaring the day’s activities a runaway success, Denise Daley, Member of Parliament for East St. Catherine, said promoting entrepreneurship was an appropriate response to the COVID-19-induced slowdown.
âI congratulate the SDC for facilitating this economic empowerment activity here today. I know this has been a challenge for the residents to survive, so I truly support this as a significant step in alleviating the plight of those we serve, âsaid Daley.
âIn fact, I think more activities of this nature will be needed to help people survive the economic setbacks caused by the pandemic. “
The elected representative, who is also the opposition spokesperson on observing local government issues, said she will also support the exhibition and fair which will be held more often on the ground.
The fair saw provisions of earth, fruits, flowers, condiments, honey, castor oil and juices on display.