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Thousands of sacks of potato rot in La Gracia Village, Cayo District

Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2017. 9:23 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: Today, BBN visited La Gracia Village in the Cayo District to meet with concerned potato farmers.

La Gracia is a quiet village that is made up of mostly hard working farmers who cultivate the land by planting potatoes, carrots, beans, and corn.

Farming is a family business at this community and the only source of income for most families.

The farmers are in trouble since thousands of sacks of potatoes that they harvested is rotting since vendors are not purchasing it from them. This is because government has allowed for massive importation of potatoes to the country, according to the farmers.

The farmers are very worried since they are unable to make payments toward their loans and the loss is huge to their hard earned investment. Farmers estimate over 3000 sacks in La Gracia village alone. There are many more local potato producers in other villages in Cayo.  San Antonio,  7 miles, upper Barton Creek and lower Barton Creek village farmers as well as farmers in the Orange Walk district are being tremendously affected.

The farmers told BBN that there is no effort on government’s part to look after the benefits of the local producers.

One of the farmers said that their local area representative had promised to look after the best interest of all farmers in the area but he hasn’t been seen since then, and they have been informed that the person that obtained the permit to import potatoes is a stalwart supporter of the Minister.

And, they also don’t believe that there is any hope to get help from the Minister.

They are now making a plea to the Minister of Agriculture to do something about this situation because they cannot afford to lose all that they have invested.

Today in Belize, the papaya industry has collapsed, the banana and sugar industries are struggling and now, we potato farmers fear that the local potato industry will collapse, the farmers told BBN.

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