“Bread gone up again? What this place coming to?”
I do not even want to hear you for I know you can do better. If bread gone up, bake your own bread. You can’t afford to pay $1.50 for a dollar bread. Bake the bread yourself.
Nowadays everybody, ever so poor, owns a gas stove with an oven. Well that’s what ovens are for, to bake. Bake your own bread.
Baking bread is not hard. Flour, yeast, shortening, butter and water. Mix them up, bake your own bread. You can’t go with these bakeries, you know. The overseas people put on a five dollar on a bag of flour. When the bakeries put on a quart on every dollar bread, they end up getting back the five dollars and more. So every time the overseas dealers raise the price of flour the local bakeries make more profit and Jenny and Jack make this possible when they bawl and buy, buy and bawl. The smart bakeries rake the profit and all Jack and Jenny get is an inferior bread for their money.
Stop buying bread and bawling, bake your own bread. If you never bake bread before, take lessons. Learn to bake your own bread and give your family a treat.
A few friends in a neighbourhood can put together and buy a bag of flour and join together every night and bake bread for the group. The bread would be sweeter and cheaper and the savings would be greater.
Fish gone up? You can’t afford to buy fish but you want fish to eat. The fishermen have to raise the price of their fish because the price of gas gone up. Well, if you can’t afford to buy fish for 12 dollars a pound, if you can’t afford to spend 36 dollars for 3lbs of fish to feed your family of five, then catch your own fish.
Yes, catch your own fish. You can’t swim and don’t have a boat and don’t have the time to go fishing? Well, you don’t have to do any of these things to catch your own fish.
Years ago, my former Inspector of School J. A. Williams spent his retirement catching his own fish. He became a fisherman, something he probably wanted to be in his growing up days in Nevis.
I couldn’t understand just why this educated man, the man I looked up to as a young teacher, my mentor, should turn to fishing when others like him used to trudge the town looking for employment to buttress them in their retirement.
It took me years to see that the man made sense. He caught his own fish, enough to feed his family and some surplus to sell to his neighbours. You know how much money he saved by catching his own fish? And I hear that although he sailed his boat to set and haul his pots, he could not swim.
You see, you don’t have to be a swimmer to catch your own fish. You don’t even have to have your own boat.
To catch your own fish you need to buy one or two fish pots, build a raft or rent a boat, set the pots and wait two weeks to haul your fish that all.
You can buy a fish pot from Project Strong for $150. If all you can afford is a raft you can get a young swimmer, maybe one of your sons, to take the pot out in the shallows and set them on the sea bed near to a reef if possible.
In two weeks when you haul the pot it will have fish in it, about $150 dollars worth if you are blessed. You must pray when you are setting it.
One haul can give you back your money for the fish pot. And after that you will have free fish and your cost of living will drop drastically.
But fish is not the only relish that you can do your own thing with. You can raise your own pork, beef and mutton. When I was a boy that’s what poor people used to do. Country people used to raise their own hogs, cattle, sheep and goats town people would invest in a calf, lamb or piglet and ask a countryman to raise it with his flocks.
This is a way to eat meat without always having to face the high cost of relish.
And stop buying all that expensive chicken from overseas. Some of these parts have been frozen for months. They are not worth the money we pay. Raise your own poultry. Form a club with the neighbours, build a big cage, raise fowls in it, feed them organically, that is, with potatoes, corn, cassava meal and so on.
Where will you get all this stuff from to feed fowls? The answer is obvious. Plant your own food. If you don’t have land in your backyard, form a club with some your neighbours, acquire some land close to where you live. Apply to the government for the land to plant a kitchen garden. Grow sweet potatoes, maize, pigeon peas, hot and sweet peppers, tomatoes, ubs and thyme.
Grow your own food, bake your own bread, catch your own fish and raise your own yard fowl. You will lower the cost of living to exciting depths.
Now if everybody bake their own bread and catch their own fish, raise their own fowls and grow their own vegetables what would happen to the bakers, fishermen and farmers who make their livelihood by baking, fishing and farming? What happens to the poultry farmer who raises chickens for the market? Will these people go out of business?
Obviously not. In the first place everybody is not going to try to be self sufficient in the way I describe. Not everybody will have the time or the motivation to engage in this cost-of-living activity. For instance, people who live in those castles and maintain expansive well manicured grass lawns might not prefer to dig up their back yard every now and then to cultivate pigeon peas and the like. They could afford to buy these things. They have a lot of money and buying is a part of their sumptuous life style. They will keep the baker going and provide a market for the fishermen, farmers and poultry producers.
My message is for the poor people, who feel the pinch of the high cost of living. Reduce your cost of living so that you can enjoy more of the good things of life, like cell phones and other things which you cannot make for yourself.
This message is also for the government. They need to provide leadership in keeping down the cost of living. I know that whenever people cry out, when things get beyond control, the government makes a scatter-flam and imposes price controls on imported commodities; but price controls are futile. They do not solve the problem. Productivity falls under price controls.
What the government must do is to studiously increase the supply of food by releasing more land to more small farmers. As the new farmers produce more food, more chickens, pigs, mutton, beef and fish, the people who could afford to buy will buy more local food and the volume of imported food will be drastically reduced.
Everybody will benefit. The poor will benefit from subsistence gardening and fishing. The better-off will benefit from increased supply in the local market. And of course lower prices.
We will all live better.