Posted: Saturday, August 27, 2022. 8:09 pm CST.
Photo Credit: MAFSE
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Entertainment (MAFSE) spearheaded a cattle stakeholders’ meeting on Friday, August 26, at the Yo Creek Agriculture Station, said MAFSE’s Principal Agriculture Officer and Livestock Director Belarmino Esquivel.
Esquivel said MAFSE sought an update on the cattle industry achievements and wanted the industry “to strategically get consensus on the next plan of action as it pertains to the cattle exports to Mexico and Guatemala”.
MAFSE Minister Jose Abelardo Mai made an overview of the cattle industry in Belize and the substantial socio-economic contribution the cattle exports contribute to the economy of Belize. Minister Mai said that since November 2020 a total of 20,154 head of cattle have been exported to Guatemala and Mexico generating cumulative exports earnings of approximately Bz$23 million. This, he said, has positively impacted approximately 6,000 cattle producers. In 2022 alone, a total of 5,176 head of cattle have been exported to the tune of BZ$6,667,000.
Esquivel reviewed the main measures undertaken by the Government of Belize to penetrate the Mexican beef market. He spoke on “the OverArching Agreement SENASICA & MAFSE 2009 where the GOB is to promote diversification of Belize’s export by promoting sustainable cattle production and market access by meeting Mexico export sanitary health requirements”.
Senasica is the Mexican Agriculture Health Authority.
Elio Pulido of the Belize Livestock Producers Association updated the Agriculture Ministry on Belize’s Livestock Traceability System. Pulido said that currently there are more than 5,500 cattle producers and approximately 6,000 establishments officially registered in the Belize Livestock Registry.
International Regional Organization for Plant and Animal Health (OIRSA) representative Fermin Blanco updated MAFSE on the hiring of a veterinarian who will replace the SENASICA vet who does the in-site inspection of cattle to be exported to Mexico. This initiative, agreed with the Mexican government, will reduce cattle export costs by 40 to 50 percent.
The Ministry of Agriculture and OIRSA have been working on reducing the cost of cattle exports, so farmers generate more income.
Director of Animal Health at the Belize Agriculture Health Authority (BAHA) Dr Miguel DePaz reviewed the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), Tuberculosis (Tb), and Brucellosis (Br) surveillance. The surveillance’s objective is for Belize to remain free of these three livestock diseases in an effort to expand exports and penetrate other potential regional beef markets. Dr DePaz said other cattle corrals in Orange Walk have been certified by SENASICA to do cattle inspection.
Dr Joe Myers, representing BAHA, reviewed the Senasica infrastructural improvements required at the Northern Border Corral to meet certification standards. Dr Myers is the BAHA’s designated veterinarian who is charged with ensuring that all sanitary and cattle export requirements are met successfully.
In closing, Minister Mai proposed the livestock producers to meet with the Social Security Board to discuss affordable financing.
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