In February 2017, we brought you the story of the farmers in the north who were complaining of the low market prices for their locally grown potatoes. The main factors attributed to the low prices was the excess supply as well as what Jose Abelardo Mai noted as being, ‘import permits for the politically favoured’. Fast forward two years later and here we are again. Farmers in San Carlos Village, Corozal District are facing an excess supply of potatoes and a low market price for the commodity. Mai, the Area Representative for Orange Walk South, spoke to Love News via phone, explaining the dilemma that the farmers are currently facing.
Jose Mai: “Farmers have just started to harvest. The harvest begins and then they are taking their product to Belize and to their dismay they notice that it is still Mexican potatoes on the local market and this is a yearly recurrence over and over again. I have one of the farmers who took 2000 lbs to sell and he only sold a small amount and had to return back the amount to San Carlos. Now since there is Mexican potatoes on the market whenever the farmer takes the bulk to the market the buyers would offer them a very low price because they say oh I can’t pay you that because I have potatoes right now so if you will take 50 cents I will buy it from you which of course is very unfair to the farmer so that is the situation right now that while the harvest has begun there is still low imported potatoes on the market. That is a very sad situation for the farmers. San Carlos has about 25 farmers. They have about 35 acres of potatoes that they are harvesting now and will continue to be harvesting during the month.”
When this story came out in 2017, we had interviewed the Minister of Agriculture, Godwin Hulse, who noted to our news centre that the ministry was looking to implement a storage system along with price compromise between the farmers and importers. We will have more on this story in our subsequent news reports.