Agricultural economist Omardath Maharaj packs seven thousand pounds of cantaloupe melons donated by Mayaro farmer Roger Lobin to distribute to front line workers yesterday.

Frontline workers, including nurses who have been facing the brunt of the pandemic for the past year, have received a special gift of gratitude from farmers this week.

Mayaro farmer Roger Lobin donated 7,000 pounds of cantaloupe and honeydew melons, some of which went to the hospital staff and police officers.

The produce is being distributed by agricultural economist Omardath Maharaj through his Yard Market in Chaguanas. Since last year, Maharaj introduced the yard market to provide support to people who want to create their home gardens as well as those who were finding it difficult to provide food for their families.

A throng of people came to collect the produce on Friday. The first batch of melons had been shared among needy families across the country.

One of the nurses who collected the produce told Guardian Media,

“We are so happy to receive this gift. It really shows us that the farmers care about us,” she added.

Speaking to Guardian Media, Maharaj said he was thankful to the farmers for their generosity, noting that since the pandemic, many people could not feed their families.

“For us to reach the wide network of people we had volunteers who worked together to make it happen. This fruit is travelling cross country. Nurses at San Fernando were very appreciative. We also reached families in Point Fortin. We sent produce to the St James Health Centre as well as those who have been attending clinics. We will also send to the San Fernando Facility for displaced people,” he added.

He noted that the produce shared by farmers amounted to over $40,000 and even though farmers had their burdens with larceny and high operational costs, they were thankful to share their abundant harvest with those in need.

Another farmer Nicholas Boodram praised the nursing staff at Princes Town and said the pandemic had shown the resilience and dedication of the nursing staff.

“We see the need to highlight and give back to the ones who are making the sacrifices for us, those nurses who are also vaccinating people as well,” he added.

The Yard market is located at Scorpion Lane in Chase Village, Chaguanas and is usually opened the last weekend of each month.

—Radhica De Silva