Posted: Monday, December 7, 2020. 11:58 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise is to formally open exportation of cattle to Mexico on Wednesday morning, 10 a.m., at the Jeffrey Farm, Blue Creek, Orange Walk District.
While there had been formal sales to both Mexico and Guatemala earlier this year, the trade had slowed because of restrictions imposed locally including quarantine of stock.
Minister Jose Abelardo Mai told us last week that the two key issues regarding the formalization of the trade are animal health and international tariffs on sale.
Belize, he said, is free of livestock-harming diseases, and has agreed a 15 percent tariff with the Mexican government ahead of this week’s sale.
The informal trade condemned by the previous administration has also resumed through Bullet Tree Falls in Cayo and Jalacte in Toledo to Guatemala.
Minister Mai defended this by saying that it brought significant relief to farmers, who were facing an excess of stock in the fields and unfavorable weather conditions moving forward.
The recent excessive rainfall was affecting pastures in the deep South and Belize River Valley as well as Cayo District, and with the usual December to April pattern of regular cold fronts interspersed by dry weather, it was critical to export as much cattle as possible now to lower the rate of stock and get the best prices.
Generalized allegations of money laundering, the Minister said, did not concern him as much as they did former Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who used it along with the claim that Belize would be punished by our international trading partners, as the basis for halting the trade earlier this year.
Barrow cited international agreements with Mexico and the United States that would penalize Belize if cattle were sold under the table.
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