Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2021. 4:27 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: On Tuesday, September 28, Belize received an initial approval through an email from Mauricio Flores Villasuso, director of the Aquaculture and Fishing arm of Mexico’s Agricultural Health Authority, Senasica, to renew its shrimp exports to the neighboring country.
The formal approval is forthcoming soon.
“As of today. we got approval for shrimps to be exported to Mexico,” said Milagro Matus, Policy Analyst at Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise (MAFSE). “That means that if tomorrow, the shrimp farms decide to export the approval is there.”
“This has happened as a result of all those meetings that the Minister (Jose Abelardo Mai) has done throughout the months. He has been engaging with Minister (Victor Manuel) Villalobos who is the Minister of Agriculture of Mexico,” said Matus.
“Another thing to note is that the approval for the plans to export to Mexico had expired since 2019 and it’s only with the reengagement of this government that the extra effort is being made to ensure that the sector’s trade can be facilitated,” she said.
Matus said that right now shrimp is being produced only for the local market but that the projections look good, and exports could be renewed early next year.
“Shrimp is rebounding, figures are increasing, the plants that are in production are experiencing a revival of their production, and so come January there is an intention for the surplus to be exported to Mexico where the prices are very good,” Matus said.
“Shrimp is showing a positive forecast in terms of production and right about now there’s a high demand locally since we have the policy that we’re not importing what we can produce,” she said.
“There’s a high demand and the fact that the tourism industry isn’t really engaged, is allowing the production we have to stay home, but it is forecast that the production will boost, and the numbers will be very high. As early as January, we will need to be exporting product and the closest and most profitable market is that of Mexico.
“The last thing we wanted to happen is that come January when the produce is in excess that our producers don’t have a good market or access to one of the more high pricing markets.”
Matus said Mexico’s approval comes in the knick of time.
“We needed to gain access to the market as soon as possible just to ensure that when the product is ready, there is no issue, sanitary issues, no issues at the government level that impedes such transactions from happening,” Matus noted.
Once they are ready to export, Belize’s shrimp farmers already have buyers in Mexico lined up, she said.
Since it’s a license renewal, Senasica will only do virtual visits to the farms if necessary to ensure everything is in place and the shrimp farmers will proceed from there.
Matus said that the MAFSE’s interest in promoting the shrimp industry is not only because it’s a money exchange earner, but also because it provides employment, in particular to women.
“Shrimp has always been a sector that has always been able to give back to the economy monetary-wise and also employment, especially of women.
“We want to ensure that the sector is given the opportunity considering the fact that there’s a demand not only through Mexico but also from Taiwan. We have recently signed the economic partnership agreement. So, the interest is being able to ensure the sector can grow,” Matus concluded.
The shrimp exports to Mexico approval comes as Prime Minister John Briceño is leading a Belize delegation on a State Visit to Mexico.
Agriculture Minister Mai, who has been pushing for a partial scope agreement with Mexico, is part of the delegation and has already had meetings with the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture.
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