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Ministry of Agriculture meets potato farmers ahead of expected increased production season, lower prices

Posted: Tuesday, October 10, 2023. 4:38 pm CST.

Photo Credit: MAFSE

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise (MAFSE) met with potato producers from the Cayo District in Belmopan last Thursday to discuss potato harvest projections for the 2023-2024 crop season in the Cayo district.

MAFSE said the 2023-24 Crop Season Outlook expects a production increase of 1,234,960 lbs. over the 2022-23 crop season. The projected increased production, should favourable weather persist, could result in a potential surplus. This could saturate the market and lower market prices. While that would be good for the consumers, it signals a loss of income for the farmers.

“The Ministry of Agriculture is actively engaging with farmers to mitigate the challenges they face,” MAFSE said in direct reference to the Cayo meeting and a previous meeting with Orange Walk potato farmers.

“The dialogue and collaboration show the interest the Ministry has in addressing the issues affecting the potato industry.”

MAFSE said that the Cayo meeting also reviewed the importation of potato seeds which it called “a crucial factor in ensuring the quality and quantity of potato production”.

The Agriculture Ministry said local potato producers are faced with challenges such as storage losses, unstable prices, competition among farmers, and supply and quality issues.

“These challenges underscore the importance of proactive measures and strategies to address them effectively,” MAFSE said.

“Strategies and solutions to enhance potato cultivation were discussed, which involved best practices, technology adoption, and market diversification.”

 

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