Posted: Thursday, April 29, 2021. 11:20 am CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: “We must work together to make a difference in the lives of the rural families,” said Minister of Agriculture, Fооd Ѕесurіtу, аnd Еntеrрrіѕе Јоѕе Аbеlаrdо Маі at the opening of the Ministry’s Annual General Meeting this morning in Belmopan.
Minister Mai started out by thanking the staff that put together the AGM which is being done virtually.
He said the Ministry of Agriculture is family to him because he worked there before.
Mai said that it is important that everyone within the ministry works together to improve the level of production. He talked about cutting down import taxes for machinery, improving production in all fields, working together with the partners in the development, and improving the lives of Belizeans.
Mai made reference to San Carlos which when he was an extension officer exported 4 million pounds of peppers to the USA. Everyone worked he said. That effort improved the life of the village he said.
Even today, San Carlos is one of the strongest producers said, Mai.
He said he cannot comprehend how there has not been any AGM at the Ministry of Agriculture for over ten years. We need to go from strength to strength, to communicate with each other, with farmers and the partners in development.
Mai said agriculture plays a crucial role in our country, it provides food, jobs, and foreign exchange.
In times of emergency like COVID-19, agriculture is resilient and can bounce back and continue to produce.
He said that in the context of Plan Belize, our From Farm to Table Policy is driven by realizable interconnected goals which include cutting poverty by fifty percent over the next five years, growing the economy by at least 5 percent per annum, raising the minimum wage to $5 per hour and create more jobs, while reducing the trade imbalance by 50 percent over 10 years.
Mai said the Ministry can deliver on its commitments of producing enough food for the country and for export. He said that we need to cut down import taxes for machinery and other imports that farmers need to be able to produce at a competitive level. The Minister said we need to continue strengthening our programs, our leadership, and management and that we need to develop better products.
In closing, he thanked everyone involved with the AGM for the productivity and contributions and for the commitment to the mission of the ministry.
“We must recognize and celebrate the excellent work being done,” said Chief Executive Officer Servulo Baeza in his welcome address. “The challenges do not stop us from achieving.”
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