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Agriculture Minister Jose Mai: Ultra-High Temperature milk processing plant is history in the making

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Posted: Thursday, March 31, 2022. 2:40 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Minister of Agriculture Jose Abelardo Mai said the Ultra-High Temperature (UHT) milk processing plant opened by Western Dairies in Spanish Lookout is history in the making while Prime Minister John Briceño said it is a game-changer.

“It is an important milestone in the history of agriculture,” said Minister Mai at the opening ceremony on Wednesday in Spanish Lookout.

“This is history in the making. For the first time, we’re having a UHT plant in this country,” he said.

“Every time that I come to Spanish Lookout, I get energized; I feel excited about what we can do and about the future of this country. I tell everybody ‘You want to see action, you want to see how we can live in this country, come to Spanish Lookout,’” said the Prime Minister.

He went on to say that people need to understand that the opportunities in agriculture are limitless, reiterating that agriculture led the economic recovery after the pandemic shutdown, even ahead of tourism.

“Western Dairies is a shining example of confidence in Belize and the Belizean economy and their success means more jobs for Belizeans, a wider range of quality products for the Belizean market, much needed foreign exchange because we need to be able to eat and consume our local products, and also another product that we can export to markets such as the CARICOM and probably even here in Central America,” said the Prime Minister in his congratulations to Western Dairies for the new processing plant.

He then went on to congratulate the Mennonite community saying that many of their companies and enterprises continue to pay off and “we remain committed to do all we can to create that enabling that environment to continue this economic resurgence and growth … so that investors like yourself will grasp the opportunities and make things happen because when you prosper, everybody prospers.”

“Nobody can tell me now that the milk will spoil one day after you put it in the refrigerator. That is a thing of the past,” said Minister Mai in reference to the 90-day shelf life the new product in its pouch presentation will have.

“I want to congratulate you on such major achievement,” he told Isaac Wolfe, Western Dairies Chairman.

Wolfe said their present milk products only have a 13-day shelf life and couldn’t compete with the foreign imported milk. He said that in 2020, the company had to dump milk because they couldn’t sell it. So, they made the move to acquire the $2.3 million ultra-high temperature processing plant which keeps the milk in good condition for 90 days once unopened.

Western Dairies will now package their milk in 1 litre pouches and will be cheaper, Wolfe said.

“We have three types of milk. We have the light milk which would be what we call skimmed milk with no fat, we have the two percent, and then the full fat,” Wolfe said.

Western Dairies will also package flavoured milk (chocolate and strawberry) in smaller 180 millilitre pouches.

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