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UDP Leader Shyne Barrow visits San Carlos to check out the carrots

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Posted: Wednesday, June 8, 2022. 3:34 pm CST.

Photo Credit: Shyne Barrow

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Carrots have been in the news lately after a complaint by a San Carlos farmer that the farmers in San Carlos in the Orange Walk District were losing their carrots because the vegetables were rotting due to contraband and a lack of buyers.

Opposition representative Tracy Taegar Panton took up the carrot mantle and made a public post of the complaint. Agriculture Minister Jose Abelardo Mai responded that he had been in San Carlos for two-consecutive days and no carrots were rotting in the fields though he acknowledged that overproduction had caused the market for carrots to slow down.

The matter came to a head last Friday at the House of Representatives when Mai told Taegar Panton to stop lying about the carrots and that the next time she should “go sit on the carrots”, take a picture of them, and only so he would believe her. Taegar Panton accused Mai of being disrespectful and of crossing the line and demanded an apology which Mai said he did. The UDP came out in Taegar Panton’s defence.

So, the Leader of the Opposition and UDP leader Shyne Barrow decided to take a look for himself.

“I visited the farmers in San Carlos with Orange Walk South Caretaker sister Lupe Magana yesterday to address their concerns about their spoiled crops,” he posted on social media.

But Barrow did not say if he found any spoiled carrots, he posted a photograph in which he is holding hairy carrots.

UDP Belize said on social media that Barrow “visited vegetable farmers in San Carlos and surrounding areas to listen to their concern about perishing yields”.

“The farmers say their vegetables are not selling because of the increase in permits issued by Jose Mai for the importation of Mexican vegetables and this administration’s unofficial policy to turn a blind eye to contraband,” said UDP Belize.

According to UDP Belize, Barrow visited a farm whose owner claimed, “her crop had been five months overdue for reaping but there is no market for it since we are flooded with Mexican carrots”.

“The farmers’ survival is at stake as they have invested everything in their farms. Price of fertilizers and other farming essentials have skyrocketed and their harvest is rotting,” said UDP Belize.

The Opposition page called on the Government to conduct a national crop stock exercise and to prioritize marketing crops from Belizean farmers first.

The president of the San Carlos-based New River Farmers Cooperative Society Max Hernández said their produce was not rotting and that while the market had been slow because of overproduction, the cooperative was already selling more of its carrots and at better prices. Hernández also said that the amount of contraband was small and didn’t affect local production.

 

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