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Agriculture Ministers of member states of SICA discuss regional collaboration

Agriculture of Ministers of the Central American Integration System, SICA, met in Belize City today. The focus of the meeting was to discuss regional collaboration in agriculture among member countries. Among the topics discussed included climate change, a regional agricultural policy and regional network markets among others. Minister of Agriculture Godwin Hulse says the conference started on Thursday with a meeting of the CRISA, the health sector of SICA.

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture: “Yesterday we did CIRSA which is the health component. And as you know notwithstanding that we are individual countries, diseases and viruses and bugs travel across the country. We have to coordinate our efforts to ensure the protection of our plant and animal health. And so there were a couple of resolutions yesterday that were discussed to be ratified at the next meeting and these cover how we are going to manage issues in cattle for example. Belize is Brucellosis and Tuberculosis free; we are the only ones in the region so that is a big plus for us and we have done a lot of work in other areas for example, in Medfly we have done a lot of work. There’s the Mealybug issue that we are working on but the collaboration among the region; it has been very good. Today’s meeting discussed ratcheting up this to another level in a way which is to introduce technology in Agriculture. Again Belize, our Ministry has launched that. We are going to be mapping by LIDAR. You all know by now we are carrying out a national census and trying to incorporate real time information into the agriculture process. You beautiful young people would never do agriculture anymore because it’s boots and mud but when we introduce the cellphone and all the gadgets which  people love then we are back on and that is really where we are going. So this morning we are dealing with some of that. As the day progresses we’ll be discussing coffee in the region. Belize is not a coffee producer and we don’t intend anytime soon to do that because there is an issue with coffee and the medfly and citrus. Citrus is our big thing but again it needs to be discussed regionally to see where we are going with that.”

Belize handed over the pro-tempore presidency of SICA to Guatemala during the meeting and Minister Hulse says there was much achieved during the time Belize held the position.

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture: Some of the issues that were on the table when I took over chairmanship have now been resolved. In this afternoon’s resolutions we will sanction some of those issues that we had on the table so yes. As you know Belize holds the Secretary General position for the Secretariat and it is held by Roberto Harrison who is a Belizean; he resides in Costa Rica. So we have a hand in and a link in  that is absolutely beneficial for us .

The meeting concluded today.