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Belize Agro-Productive sector concerned over rice donation

Posted: Monday, August 27, 2018. 3:22 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: Today, Belize Agro-productive Sector (BAS) group issued a statement in relation to the rice donation given to Belize by Taiwan last week.

Taiwan donated 10,000 bags of rice to Belize’s Ministry of Human Development.

BAS Group says that they are grateful to Taiwan for almost 3 decades of solid support to the country in so many areas, including in the agricultural field.

However, the rice producers, both farmers and millers, are concerned that the recent rice donation can be counter-productive and lead to a situation where the local commercial market can be negatively impacted.

According to BAS Group, while the donated rice may appear to represent a small amount of local annual consumption, it can open the door to further donations and the importation of more rice and other locally produced commodities.

“If these types of donations were to become a practice, it can cause a serious distortion of the local market and hamper local agro producers,” BAS explained.

The group also shared their concerns on Belize’s agriculture ministry not consulting with their stakeholders in the rice industry because if they would have consulted, they would have been informed that there is currently a substantial surplus of rice stored locally, with additional harvesting about to take place.

BAS says that his has been the situation with a running surplus of rice for the past 3 years.

Consultation would have also revealed that locally produced premium rice would have been significantly cheaper.

Furthermore, BAS says that the amount that it cost Taiwan to deliver this donated rice could have been used to purchase up to one and a half times the amount of locally produced rice.

Belize’s agro-productive sector emphasized the need for consultations before there are any importations or donations of agricultural commodities that are locally produced in Belize.

Such dialogue between the parties will allow for a striving agro-productive sector, less importation of food products and better benefits for countries that wish to donate.

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