QCOSTARICA – Despite the effects of the pandemic, “ferias” (farmers fairs) that are a staple on weekends across the country, from small towns to big cities, continue to attract customers looking for fresh produce and at good prices.
Edwin Vargas, president of the Junta Nacional de Ferias del Agricultor (National Board of Farmers Fairs), recognized that although it has been a complicated time due to the covid, they remain hard at work to offer them to their customers high-quality products.
“It (covid) has been a very strong impact, at the beginning they wanted to close us but we talked with the Ministries of Health and Agriculture and we managed to keep us open due to the importance of the products that farmers bring to the fairs,” explained Vargas.
Of course, so that they could remain open, the organizers reinforced health protocols such as physical distancing and hand washing. In addition, only half of the people are allowed in to avoid the risk of crowds.
“Sales have dropped to more than 50%, which hits the 8,000 farmers who have their stalls at the fairs. Some of the older farmworkers even retired, some to take care of themselves and some for other reasons,” explained Vargas.
In addition, there are another large number of farmers who do not attend the fairs, since they prefer to go to the wholesale markets or the smaller ones prefer selling their products on the street.
Others who have joined the farmers to offer their products at the fairs are those who come to sell cheese, jellies, homemade bread and other products.
Some have thought of making life easier for their customers, so they sell their vegetables peeled and chopped and vacuum packed.
Don Gerardo Tencio, president of the Comité Regional Ferias del Agricultor Valle Central Oriental (Central Oriental Valley Farmer’s Fair Regional Committee), for his part, also explains that buying at fairs is a benefit for consumers.
“Buying at fairs guarantees you buy fresh, recently harvested produce. In addition, the prices are lower and varied, people have the possibility of haggling,” explained Vargas.
In addition, among those who usually go to the fair, they know that the consumer identifies a lot with the farmers and that place becomes their meeting point, which triggers a friendship between the two and even motivates conversation and interest in knowing how they produce their products. products, although unfortunately, a pandemic has affected this behavior.