Agriculture Ministry Refutes Claims of Carrot Import Permits Affecting Prices

Agriculture Ministry Refutes Claims of Carrot Import Permits Affecting Prices

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise is addressing the statements made in a United Democratic Party (UDP) press release and social media post regarding import permits and prices for carrots. The social media post alleges that the Ministry is issuing import permits to Mexican producers. District agriculture officer, Cayo District William Can explained that the recent dip in carrot prices is not due to imports but rather an oversupply caused by overlapping harvest cycles in Orange Walk, Cayo and Stann Creek. 

William Can, District Agriculture Officer, Cayo: “Usually the planting of carrots begin in the north it usually begins in ending of July/August. That has created a carrots coming in earlier. And then in the Cayo district our main planting season is from September to November planting going to December are considered late planting because of our production systems, right? So we mostly depend on our production system in the Cayo district to a certain extent is not irrigated while up north they could come earlier and go later because they do have irrigation. That is in a sense what we have seen. And then the harvesting, usually the ones that are planted in July/August comes in October. But this last year the planting August so the harvesting began in November, so we closed importation on that month. And since then the import permits have been closed we have not been issuing any permits to import carrots because we have enough carrots to supply our local demand. So since then to now and then based on the numbers and projections that we have we will have carols until roughly ending of July. Stann Creek District based on our numbers that we have is supposed to come out this week to early next week will be their last harvesting. So I know Corozal still have a production and soon will harvest some small acreages but our biggest acreages right now are in Cayo district and Orange Walk District. So those are the ones that are overlapping. The main reason being that as you recall last year usually our planting like I was explaining earlier, is in September we start in the Cayo district but due to the fact farmers planted but then expecting rains and all of those but then we saw that in between August, September, to mid October last year we were receiving rain fall beyond normal. So therefore, farmers and then after mid October towards mid November we see above rainfall. So in that sense the planting kind of disrupted. So while some farmers as soon as the rain began or we have high ground managed to plant, but most of our planting happened in November and going towards December which we consider late plantings and that kind of overlap San Carlos. San Carlos is Orang Walk, Orange Walk is coming out in production and right now they are, I believe based on the number that they are in the peak of harvesting.”

Can goes on to explain that the Ministry has not issued any import permits since November 2023. 

William Can, District Agriculture Officer, Cayo: “One thing I could assure you guys is that we are not issuing any import permits and then the Belize Agriculture Health Authority which have a department which deals with the surveillance of contraband goods and so they are right now I know that they are doing their market surveillance and most of the surveillance have yielded that you know it’s local produce that we have on the main market outlets as reported by the officers. Yeah, but in terms of those are the things that we need to see that, one we have not issued any import since November last year. So we are, the produce are, and will remain because what we do is one, we try to work with the farmers, the best we could in terms of monitoring and also in my personal way the way I usually work is that I do consult a lot with farmers and then based on that we do the best decision that could be one for the farmers, for the consumers and other than at the national level.”

Reporter: All right. Thank you so much. Is there anything that you would like to add? 

William Can, District Agriculture Officer, Cayo: “No, it’s good. I mean, we try our best and we try because I mean, we are here for to work for the farmers.”

Notably, the Ministry hosts national meetings with farmers where they discuss production before, during and after crop season.

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