Posted: Tuesday, September 1, 2020. 1:04 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Breaking Belize News (BBN) has confirmed that some 241 head of cattle have been loaded into three trucks in the village of Blue Creek, Orange Walk District, and are on their way for export to Mexico.
This is a further formalization of the cattle trade to our nearest neighbors, started earlier this month with 27 head exported to Guatemala and representing the first formal shipment to Guatemala ever.
While the borders to both countries are closed due to COVID-19, their governments have agreed on mechanisms for formal livestock trade, replacing the informal and illegal practices halted earlier this year.
In the early 2000, official exports to Mexico was a common activity but was halted when Mexico became concerned about Belize’s cattle disease status. As a result, a 12 million dollar cattle sweep project was launched in 2012 to declare Belize free of tuberculosis and brucellosis. Despite the project concluding and various assurances by Prime Minister Dean Barrow as far back as 2010, cattle exports to Mexico remained elusive. In 2017, a small shipment was successfully made to Mexico but exports halted again. The shipment of 241 head today marks a new era in the export of cattle to Mexico, and sets the stage for additional formal exports to our northern neighbour.
The annual value of the informal trade of cattle is valued at some BZ$50 million and officials including Agriculture Minister Godwin Hulse have warned that Belmopan will come down hard on continuing illegal cross-border trade.
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