Buying Jamaican is sometimes not the best option?

I try to buy local produce as much as possible as it is more cost effective and supportive of the farming industry. With fruits, this is no problem. Bananas, mangoes, naseberries, papaya and sugar cane are in abundance. For vegetables, sometimes this is a little bit more difficult. As a result, I eat a lot of pumpkin, carrot and cauliflower. Those seem to be the cheapest and most readily available.

Lately, however, I noticed that the carrots are getting skinnier and the cauliflower sometimes is not even stocked. I assumed it was a result of the drought. The other day I was in a supermarket and noticed that the local carrots had doubled in price, while these imported carrots, fat and vibrant, were cheaper than those from Jamaica.

I caved in and bought the imported carrots. I am wondering why importers are now bringing in carrots and why they are now cheaper than local ones. I am not an economist so I can only speculate about basic reasons. Supply has decreased while demand stays the same, pushing up prices. And the customer will usually act in his or her own best interests, influencing prices.

I hope this practice does not continue and that the weather is indeed the determining factor in the supermarket owner’s decision to import carrots. We have had some rain so this will help local farmers.

To shine more light on this issue, please check out this post from a new web site called Daily Veritas.

2 thoughts on “Buying Jamaican is sometimes not the best option?

  1. Kate, to the extent that the drought has hit local supplies, outlets and you want to get best value for money, and imports can and do fill a gap. But, when local supplies recover where will we be? That’s an open question.

    The other aspect is what do we want to eat. If we develop a taste for food readily produced abroad, say asparagus, do we try to compete and grow ourselves, with good or bad results, or accept that we cannot do it well (soil, climate, etc.)? Do we then import, or change our desires to what’s readily available and affordable? That’s largely a personal decision, but not divorced from budget. Richer people have choices due to income. If I can afford to buy foreign foods, do I reject them for being foreign? I often can and do. But, we cannot force that on all who can exercise the choice.

    It’s not simple. Jamaicans love salt fish, but we always have to import that input to our ‘national’ dish.

    • Thank you for this perspective. I guess the market really does determine what is supplied, especially in times of economic downturn. Saltfish comes from Canada- did you know this?:)

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