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Minister of Agriculture Jose Abelardo Mai visits farmers in Springfield, Valley of Peace, and Barton Creek in Cayo District

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Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2021. 4:42 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Minister of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise Jose Abelardo Mai and a delegation of 40 members visited farmers in Springfield, Valley of Peace, and Barton Creek in the Cayo District on Tuesday.

The delegation was comprised of international agricultural partners, technical staff and operations staff of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).

In his first stop at the Mennonite community of Springfield, community representative Ivan Martin said they appreciated the visit of Minister Mai and said they are doing well with their cultivation and sale of vegetables. Martin said they are now doing better than during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, though it hasn’t been easy.

“We face up with the weather, pests, surplus in the market, different things we faced up, but as a whole we’ve had a good year again and we’re thankful for all the support, especially that in the past when we didn’t have enough they brought in Mexican [products]. That really affected the farmers that didn’t have the courage to plant,” Martin said. “But this year and even prior to this year we have felt more support from the Ministry of Agriculture Extension Officers and all of them have been doing their best to improve it.”

The Mennonites at Springfield plant melons, sweet peppers, peppers, celery, cauliflower, beets, carrots, habanero, onions, cilantro, coco, potatoes, among others.

Next Mai visited Valle de Paz where he met farmers who expressed their concerns with regards to prices for their products, roads, irrigation.

“We really appreciate his assistance and the visit of the Minister to our community but at the same time we’d like to address some points that are not working,” said Valle de Paz chairman Juan Arias.

Arias said that under the previous administration only about 50 percent of the farmers received assistance and that the assistance was not equally distributed.

The Valley of Peace farmers thanked the MOA for a water pump that provides water to a canal adjacent to the lagoon. The canal provides water to the village farmers.

Mai also visited the El Progreso Cooperative in Valle de Paz which is a store started by the townspeople and is now a very successful business. Cooperativa El Progreso sells groceries, hardware, motorcycles, and farm products among other products.

The final stop took Mai and his entourage to a potato storage in Barton Creek.

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