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Agriculture Minister Jose Abelardo Mai meets shrimp industry stakeholders in Dangriga to discuss progress, advancements

Posted: Friday, January 13, 2023. 10:19 am CST.

Photo Credit: MAFSE

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Minister Jose Abelardo Mai led a Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise (MAFSE) high level team in a meeting on Thursday in Dangriga with shrimp industry stakeholders to discuss the progress and advancements being achieved.

In a social media statement, MAFSE said the shrimp industry is on the rebound after being ravaged by diseases that resulted in years of dismal performance.

“Some of the issues discussed included progress and continued challenges with new technology for production, outlook for the new year, challenges (and opportunities) with export markets, opportunities for vertical expansion within the sector and industry, and financing,” MAFSE said.

The Agriculture Ministry said the use of new technology is greatly advancing the production and health standards in the shrimp industry.

“The industry is already on the road to success and Minister Mai and the MAFSE team continue to work hand in hand with the growers to ensure continued success of an industry that will bring economic benefits and employment to the economy of the country,” MAFSE said.

Last year, MAFSE said shrimp production was projected to rise from 1.17 million lbs. in 2021 to 2.50 million lbs. in 2022.

In July, Minister Mai met with a group of Guatemalan investors who planned to produce high-quality disease-free shrimp Post Larvae (PLs) in Belize in partnership with Belize companies. The partnership that Minister Mai was referring to involved Belize Aquaculture Limited (BAL), VITALI – a company based in Guatemala and Central America that produces the ARECA brand of shrimp feed, and CP Thailand – a company based in Thailand that has mastered the art of producing disease-free improved shrimp germplasm for intensive shrimp production.

At the time, Mai also said Royal Mayan and Aqua Mar were using a super highly intensive system that had revolutionized the shrimp industry in 2022.

But the industry is not without threats. In December, the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) said it had instituted sanitary measures to prevent the introduction of a disease named Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (EHP) following a joint advisory it issued along with the Regional International Organization for Agricultural Health (OIRSA), the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise (MAFSE), and the Belize Shrimp Growers Association (BSGA). At the time, BAHA said EHP had been reported in Asia and Australia and it was highly suspected to already be in Central and South America.

“Shrimp producers are encouraged to strengthen and maintain high levels of biosecurity in their establishments, and to review their contingency plans,” said the December joint advisory.


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