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Belize farmers breaking carrot production records says Ministry of Agriculture; prices for farmers on the rise

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Posted: Thursday, June 9, 2022. 9:55 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise (MAFSE) says Belizean farmers are now producing enough carrots to supply the local market for ten months of the year instead of six.

“For the first time in the history of Belize, carrot farmers are on track to produce enough carrots to supply the local market for up to 10 months, using improved farming technology and practices, and new varieties,” said MAFSE in a press release on Thursday.

“Up until 2020, farmers were only able to supply the local market with carrots for six months.”

“A total of 2.12 million pounds of carrots is being produced across the country on 206.5 acres in the 10-month period. The ministry applauds the efforts of local farmers, particularly in the carrot-growing communities of Concepcion, Cristo Rey, Patchakan and Xaibe in Corozal; San Carlos and Indian Church in Orange Walk; La Gracia, Seven Miles and San Antonio in Cayo; and Roseville in Stann Creek, for their ability to work together to achieve this milestone.”

While Minister Jose Abelardo Mai has said overproduction caused the market to slow down, the Ministry says that that overproduction is not massive.

“The ministry categorically states that, at this time, there is no massive oversupply of carrots, only a shift in supply from the rest of the country to San Carlos and Concepcion,” said MAFSE.

The Agriculture Ministry said that it is normal to have some losses and that farmers are now selling their produce at better prices.

“Carrot farmers from the different carrot-producing regions of the country in Corozal, Orange Walk Cayo and Stann Creek have experienced seasonal, temporary fluctuations in demand and price for their product, with prices presently on the rise,” said MAFSE.

“The ministry notes that it is normal to have between 3% to 5% of losses in carrots in the field. Any attempt to otherwise mislead the Belizean public is pure political mischief and recklessness,” said MAFSE.

“The fact that the on-farm wholesale carrot prices have edged up in the last week or two from 35 to 40 cents per pound to between 50 to 60 cents per pound is evidence that there is no massive oversupply as is being claimed in some circles. Retail prices at the markets countrywide remain at around $1.50 per pound.”

The Ministry of Agriculture also said that imported carrots must be contraband because it hasn’t issued any new import permits.

“Since October 2021, the ministry has not issued any new import permits for carrots. Any imported carrot that finds itself on the local market would therefore be the result of contraband. With the help of other government agencies, the ministry hopes to deter this practice,” said MAFSE.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise said it encourages Belizeans to keep supporting “the hardworking, rural-based, local farmers who are ensuring food security in the country”.

The Ministry of Agriculture’s press release said the new carrot season begins in October and that its extension service is preparing for it working hand in hand with farmers “to schedule production and avoid potential over-and-under supply issues”.

 

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