PINEAPPLE season is at its peak and the Port Vila Market is packed with pineapple farmers selling the product.
Ruth Leah, a pineapple farmer from Teouma in Efate said in recent years there were not many vendors selling pineapple at the market and the sales were very good.
But she said this year many vendors sold pineapples and the sales are very slow.
“There were many of us selling pineapple this season and I see that we haven’t made that much money like in 2016. Many of these farmers were around here; they are not farmers coming from other islands in Vanuatu,” she said.
Ms Leah said because of the many farmers selling, she only took one table to sell her pineapples .
“Therefore with only one table, my sales are slower and I would earn just around VT 5000 a week. If I have many customers I could make around VT 10,000 or more in one week. But if I used two tables, I would make a higher amount than this one,” she said.
She said when the sales are too slow her pineapples become over ripe and begin to stink. Thus she has to throw them away. And many began to stink at the farm. And she said there is also competition with the water melon vendors.
“So that is one problem of many vendors selling pineapples. If you look outside, vendors who don’t have a space inside the market sold their pineapples outside the market house,” she said.
However Ms Leah said as a pineapple farmer she makes enough money for her family and her kids to go to school.
“I have five kids, three of whom are in school. So by selling pineapples I pay their school fees and pay for their school materials,” she said.
She said with the sales of pineapple in the last couple of years; she managed to get loans and bought three vehicles for servicing her pineapples from the farm to the market. She has one bus and two land cruisers.
“I employed four people who work in the farm clearing the farm and harvesting. The land cruiser would make three trips to the market in one day,” she said.
Ms Leah spends her all time selling in the market during the pineapple season from November through to January.