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Fisheries and Agriculture

Second farmers market a huge success |31 August 2020

Second farmers market a huge success

The second farmers market held at Espace building on Saturday was again a huge success, drawing in more vendors and shoppers.

Organised by owner of Wildflour Café Elza Frichot-Dahoo, the second farmers market was put up following popular demand after the first was organised as a symbol of solidarity towards other businesses that have been adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

From the moment the vendors had finished setting up the stall at 8am, members of the public started to pour in to savour the best of products the domestic market has on offer, until the early hours of the afternoon. Numerous local producers including farmers occupied the various stalls, with fruits, vegetables, cosmetics, plants, and local crafts on offer.

As compared to the first, Saturday’s market had much more products on offer to the public. Isola Design Seychelles and ZilLokal were both present with cute handmade jewellery and trinkets on offer, while ISPC Seychelles had a stunning array of fresh produce for sale including juicy tomatoes, zucchinis and different varieties of leafy salad leaves and herbs.

“We organised a first edition two months ago as a lot of people, our partners, clients, friends were facing difficulties, so we came together and organised it. Considering that the first edition was a huge success, we worked together and for the second edition were able to add some additional stalls for different products. This time we have handmade soap, ceramics, virgin coconut oil, so these products are different,” said Mrs Frichot-Dahoo.

“Additionally, our partners, based on public demand as they are not necessarily used to working with the local public, they have this time round been able to bring products that respond to local demand and needs. We are extremely satisfied with the collaboration with our vendors and the public who dropped in. We would like to expand a little, as there are a lot of exceptional products being manufactured in Seychelles so if we can add them to our market, it would be a pleasure,” Ms Frichot-Dahoo noted.

Indeed, some of the businesses present at Saturday’s second farmers market operate in the industries hardest-hit by the economic downturn. Gemma Roberts, owner of Le Repaire Boutique Hotel and Restaurant, La Digue, has since the Covid-19 outbreak turned to making and selling jam, as a way of generating income.

“We are an 18-room hotel with 43 employees, 33 of whom are Seychellois. Eight staff are in the kitchen and since there are no visitors and no business, there was nothing left for them to do. So we are here today because we are innovating and finding alternative ways to make a living,” Mrs Roberts said.

Joined by her daughters, Mrs Roberts recalls that she previously had a jam venture when she was saving for her house. All jams are produced in the Le Repaire restaurant kitchen as per her recipe, with a secret ingredient which makes the jams set beautifully. Of the varieties which were available for the punters to try and possibly to purchase was mazanbik orange marmalade, banana starfruit, starfuit, caramel starfruit and bigarad marmalade, although Mrs Roberts uses a variety of other fresh fruits when available.

Similarly, owners of textile souvenir manufacturers Seyvenirs, Duniam Sinon and Susan Bastienne, have with the standstill in tourism suffered business losses. Prior to the pandemic, the partners handmade textile products and supplied to other retailers, but they now find themselves selling directly to customers so as to profit more.

Mrs Bastienne also says that the pandemic has prompted her to change her business model a bit and to now produce more for the local market, as opposed to visitors.

Available on Saturday at the stall were handmade bags, fabric tea towels with biblical quotes, among other handmade and hand embroidered products.

The farmers market is expected to be organised more frequently in future, so as to promote locally manufactured products.

The accompanying photos show some highlights of the market.


Laura Pillay

Photos: Thomas Meriton

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