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Support local farmers during economic and climate instability, says CEO of Agriculture

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Posted: Friday, June 5, 2020. 8:30 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Jose Alpuche, says that 2020 was forecast to be a difficult year for the agriculture sector and is calling on Belizeans to support local farmers during these difficult times.

Alpuche said that the sector was already battling a severe drought last year which rolled over into 2020. Already battling the drought, the industry took another environmental shock last weekend when a tropical storm in the Eastern Pacific Basin brought heavy rains causing massive flooding in the northern and western districts. While the rains came at a time of drought, Alpuche said it might not be the good sign that everyone was hoping for.

“Actually these rains still do not prove that we are our of the drought as yet, it could be a one-off. It’s something that we have to keep monitoring and trying as much as possible to assist the farmers through the various events,” Alpuche said.

He explained that the weather conditions going forward will also be increasingly difficult to forecast due to the El Niño and La Niña weather phenomenons. These phenomena which occur every few years results in an area within the Equatorial Pacific Ocean having unusually warm sea surface that temperatures, drawing weather activity in that direction and away from our region. But the current El Nino is currently transitioning out, complicating forecasting.

Alpuche stressed that, since weather conditions will not be favorable in the foreseeable future, the government will do what it can to assist the farmers, but the public has an even more vital role to play in supporting them.

“I truly want the Belizean public, the consumers out there to appreciate the plight of the farmers. Without food security, we don’t have national security. They are an important part of our economic makeup. Please let’s do all we can to continue buying Belizean, but do all that we can to appreciate their plight and pay them a fair price as we go forward,” Alpuche said.

 

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