Assistance in On the Way for Banana Growers
The price of bananas in Belize is looking to see a slight increase. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, this hike in price is attributed to the cost of production going up as a result of a shortage of fertilizer. Farmers in the country, especially in the South, have struggled to find affordable sources of fertilizer, leading to a decrease in production and an increase in costs as human capital becomes an unwarranted expense. CEO of the Ministry of Agriculture, Servulo Baeza, explains that the Ministry has already begun to take steps in reducing these strains on the farmers.
Servulo Baeza, CEO, Ministry of Agriculture: “If the cost of producing and the cost of bringing the product to the market goes up then obviously I mean nobody will do something for a loss so those people who do that for a living certainly have to pass on that to the consumers. The banana industry as a whole is in a very precarious position right now. The cost of production has really gone up. Fertilizer is one of the main components along with one of the things that you’re also saying is the increase in hourly wage for the workers going up to $5 so those two things have really compounded and increase the cost of production for bananas. Bananas use a lot of fertilizer I mean unlike sugar cane they use two sacks of fertilizer per acre every month and so when you have a cost of fertilizer going up by over 100% I mean that’s a huge increase in the cost. So one of the things we have done, headed by my minister the Honorable Jose Abelardo Mai we had asked the American government for some fertilizer, they had offered some fertilizer and so initially we have arranged to get some fertilizer for the sugar industry. We went recently to visit the American ambassador because we wanted to ask for additional help, additional help both for the citrus and for the banana industry. So we have asked them we have formally requested that assistance the American government is looking at it and it would seem that it might be favorable. So hopefully in the next couple of weeks and so on we should be getting a favorable response from them.”