The Marketing Extension Unit consisting of four regional officers, (Eastern, Western, Central and Northern) and one officer located at the Agro-Export Centre - Spanish Town Road, a Post harvest Specialist and a Marketing Manager, is responsible for assisting farmers to locate markets for their fresh produce via all the market sources be-it export or local - fresh food and processing.
The major roles are:
1. Assisting farmers with production planning for the market sources which involves:-
a) time of planting corresponding with market demand periods;
b) quantity to be produced, hence yield expectancy;
c) cost of production versus market price, hence profitability of venture;
d) post harvest practices resulting in market quality.
2. Assisting farmers with identifying and implementing appropriate marketing strategies to correspond to the particular market source; e.g.
i) volume versus price
ii) quality versus volume versus price
iii) market source versus price
iv) retail versus wholesale markets
v) farm gate versus delivery price.
3. Farmers and middlemen / higglers are trained in post harvest handling of produce - use of improved practices.
4. Linkages are made with buyers for farmers and middlemen via the Agro-Export Centre (AMC) office; also with other exporters, wholesalers, and retailers - supermarkets, green groceries, hotels and any other food-purchasing enterprises. This is done on an islandwide basis. The officers to ensure continuity supervise the development and coordination of the linkages.
5. Farmers are encouraged to operate in groups - group farming and marketing via Associations or Cooperatives. These groups are visited on a regular basis and are provided with technical and administrative advice.
6. The unit also provides for all buyers and financial institutions - (BOJ, Media sources and other interested personnel) weekly farm gate prices via facsimile on a regular basis. In addition, a Present and Forecast (three months) supply situation report of a wide range of fresh produce is produced on a monthly basis. The supply situation report includes information on volume available in districts of parishes, present farm gate price and a forecasted statement on the supply and price changes that may occur within the month.
7. Lastly, the unit produces printed material on post harvest handling procedures and quality standards for all fresh produce grown by farmers and sold locally and overseas.