Veggie quality better

The National, Wednesday July 6th, 2016

THE quality of local fresh produce reaching the supermarket shelves has improved following an import ban on some vegetables, according to the Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA).
In a brief to Agriculture Minister Tommy Tomscoll, the FPDA said major supermarkets and catering companies indicated that they were prepared to source fresh produce locally to meet demands.
Following a consultation organised by FPDA, its report said there was a clear indication that buyers, particularly supermarkets and catering companies, showed their willingness to work closely with local growers and suppliers to source their supplies.
The buyers are confident of getting adequate volumes of banned fruits and vegetables locally to meet their demands.
The FPDA report said the ban caused an increase in the production of fruits and vegetables, contributing to a high volume of supply entering municipal markets and other formal markets over the past six months.
There has been an increase in the production of bulb onions over the last five months. Since the suspension of the ban, there has been a huge surplus in the market.
This also confirms an industry report that there are sufficient volumes of vegetables available locally.
This assumption has been confirmed during the consultation.
Major buyers have indicated they are aware of increasing production following the ban, and they have organised for local supplies.
While major supermarkets have imported high volumes of bulb onions, some retail stores have sourced their supply from the local growers.
They commended the improvement in quality of local bulb onions, the report said.
Red cabbage, red bulb onions and celery needed for salad cannot be sourced in adequate volumes locally due to limited availability of seeds.