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Onion problems in the north – Agriculture Minister visits Cristo Rey farmer to address selling of his onions

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Posted: Monday, January 10, 2022. 6:21 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias

Agriculture Minister Jose Abelardo Mai visited Santiago Che, Cristo Rey onion farmer who needed help in selling his onions.

“Had a good chat with Mr. Santiago Che and his son at their home in Cristo Rey this afternoon,” said Minister Mai on social media. Minister Mai was accompanied by Belize Marketing Development Corporation (BMDC) Managing Director Valentin Carrillo.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise (MAFSE) said Che and his son recently harvested between 60 to 70 50-pound bags of white onions.

“I have good quality white onions. I have a good amount of white onion. I have purple onions but not much,” said Che to Informa T Corozal after the Minister’s visit.

“I’m calling on all importers and onion buyers to buy my onion. I only have an acre but if I don’t sell it, I don’t have any income to pay what I owe. I’m calling on the importers who help me every year.

“We are harvesting and can’t sell it. The market is flooded. I thank Minister Mai for visiting and he promised that he’ll be at the market tomorrow morning to solve the problem,” Che said.

According to the Minister the visit was fruitful as they were able to help Che.

“By the time we left Cristo Rey, BMDC’s Managing Director had already secured sale for the 70 bags of onions,” said the Minister.

“The onions are still moist and need to dry well for proper curing as he is now doing in his storage facility. Shelf life for uncured white onions is extremely short, especially white onions,” said Minister Mai.

“However, many times farmers are in a rush to market their product due to outstanding loans to the various financing institutions.”

Minister Mai said Che takes good care of his onions,

“It’s important to note that Mr. Che has a good storage facility for onions.”

The Minister said Che explained to him that he had a great loss in 2009-2010 when he was unable to sell his onions due to mass importation by BMDC at the time.

“I reiterated to Mr. Che that as long as our farmers are producing, we are not going to import,” said Minister Mai.

“The Ministry policy mandate is to support our local produce and farmers and it’s commitment remains the same. Produce more and import less,” said the Ministry.

 

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