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Belize and US Sign Agreement on Fruitfly Eradication

A Belize delegation recently returned from Cancun, Mexico where they attended the second meeting of the multilateral fruit fly commission on Tuesday, July 28.  Coming out of that meeting was a signed Fruit Fly Control Cooperative Agreement with the parties being the United States Department of Agricultrue (USDA), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture and the Belize Agricultural Health Authority.   The agreement seeks to govern cooperation when it comes to the management of the fruit fly pests in an interest to protect crops in Belize and in the United States.  The cooperation from both countries will come through the control and eradication of the fruit fly pests, the management of an exotic surveillance program and technical cooperation with respect to the management of fruit fly pests and related activities in Belize.  The USDA has committed to provide just under four hundred thousand Belize dollars to this endeavor while the Belize Government will give counterpart funding of just under seven hundred thousand Belize dollars.  The contribution being given by the United States is to be used specifically for medfly eradication activities and for the acquisition of equipment, materials and supplies while the monies from Belize will be utilized for salaries, operational expenses for the medfly program.  According to a release from the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, the signing comes at an opportune time as just recently, medflies were detected in the south of Belize.  Signing on behalf of the USDA was the Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Program Edward Avalos and for Belize was the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture, Jose Alpuche. The Belize delegation comprised of CEO Alpuche; Managing Director of BAHA, Emir Cruz and the National Medfly Coordinator, Hernan Zetina.