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Minister of Agriculture Jose Abelardo Mai visits Vaca, San Antonio today in 2nd day of Cayo District tour

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Posted: Wednesday, May 5, 2021. 10:14 am CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Minister of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise Jose Abelardo Mai today continues his Cayo District tour with visits to Vaca in the morning and San Antonio in the afternoon. 

On Tuesday, Mai and a delegation of 40 members visited farmers in Springfield, Valley of Peace, and Barton Creek. 

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

In his first stop this morning,  Minister Mai will visit livestock farmers in Vaca where he will present a livestock scale to them.

Then in the afternoon, Mai will be in San Antonio where he will visit the San Antonio Women’s Group and the Dan Lopez livestock and crops farm.

Yesterday 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 the cultivation and sale of vegetables. Martin said they are now doing better than during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly since the MOA is not allowing importation of vegetables that Belizean farmers produce.

“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, habanero peppers, celery, cauliflower, beets, carrots, onions, cilantro, coco, potatoes, among others.

In Valle de Paz, Mai met farmers who expressed their concerns with regards to prices for their products, roads, and 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 previous 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 much needed water for the plantations.

But they also asked that the access and farm roads be maintained for them to be able to get their products out year round.

Mai also visited the El Progreso Cooperative in Valle de Paz. Cooperativa El Progreso, a very successful store owned by members of the community, sells groceries, hardware, motorcycles, and farm products among other products. 

Mai’s final visit on Tuesday was to a potato storage in Barton Creek.

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