While the Ministry of Agriculture intends to monitor the situation, it’s a curious one that the Belize Livestock Producers Association is also zeroing on. As we told you, Running W has pulled out of Agric because there is a shortage in their supply. However, according to BLPA’s general manager, Mindy Garcia, the local suppliers are being attracted by the higher prices that are being offered from across the borders.
Mindy Garcia, General Manager, Belize Livestock: “I would believe this will be a company issue. It’s not something that is happening at a livestock industry’s perspective. We have been communicating with the different cattle farmers and slaughtering facilities as well and this is not the situation. We have always mentioned that we have enough beef. So we supply to our country and to maintain Belize with our local consumption. What happened is, regarding the 15% tariff removal, it has been a positive thing for our farmers. Since the 15% tariff, we saw that same week we had another Mexican buyer company coming in to Belize to explore what are the, or to visit and see what are the different type of animals we have in the country, if they are, what will be the procedures to get their company in as well and that has brought in as well, competition with our Guatemalan buyers. You know, we have a market with Guatemala as well. So this is good in favour of our farmers so there has been a little slight increase in price so as, I don’t blame the cattle farmers. I mean, they spent a lot of money. Right now everything has went up with fuel to get agricultural products as well. In the pork industry you know that grains are expensive as well. So, everything is going up and if I am a farmer and they’re paying me more now for my animal per pound then I would rather stay where they’re paying more and that’s why this is happening and it’s a dilemma with the company, Running W, because they can’t match the price that these buyers are putting now. They can only afford to pay a certain amount and it’s lower than what the current buyers are paying.”
For the BLPA’s part, Garcia told us that they will see how best they can help Running W with this challenge since the company’s success is an important part of their organization’s mandate.