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Jose Mai: Agriculture taking center stage

Posted: Friday, January 8, 2021. 1:07 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The cattle industry has been revived in great terms, said Minister of Agriculture Jose Mai in a statement to the House of Representatives.

Thousands of heads of cattle have been exported since November to both Guatemala and Mexico, and the Guats want more.

The sugar season continues after Government averted discontent with quota awarded to caneros.

Poultry products have found a market in the Caribbean.

And at home, the Ministry has stopped import permits for milk and cheese due to a saturated market which has crowded out the local product and robbed the country of sales taxes as for years importers were not paying General Sales Tax on imported processed milk. In the meantime, local producers were forced to pay high duties and GST on the raw materials used to process local milk. Minister Mai asked Belizeans to help correct this situation by continuing to “buy Belizean”.

Mai said he would not be swayed by those coming to his office bearing gifts – drawing an objection from the Opposition.

But he concluded that policy change is needed to combat the “madness” of Belizean producers competing unfavorably with importers.

 

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