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Market Vendors Say Local Carrots are Not Cutting It

The Ministry of Agriculture has reported that for the first time, the harvesting of carrots began as early as October 14. Agriculture Minister Jose Mai said that carrot harvesting would usually commence in November but due to the many committed farmers, technicians, and new policies implemented by his ministry, harvesting began forty-five days earlier. But, has this early harvesting season combined with a temporary ban on imported carrots caused a shortage at the market? Reporter Vejea Alvarez has the story.

Come Sunday many Belizens may be unable to find carrots for their Sunday dinner coleslaw. That’s because the vendors at the Michael Finnegan Market say the orange colored root is scarce. The reason behind the scarcity of the vegetable according to one vendor is due to the current ban on the importation of carrots from Mexico.

Vendor: ‘Well right now the issue with the carrot is that no carrots right now and I don’t think they’re giving license for the Mexicans and then the reason why they don’t give to the Mexicans what I heard is that once the local farmers have you can’t import Mexican right? But then the local farmers don’t have the amount to supply the whole market because if you notice there are not carrots in the market today. I’ve noticed that people prefer the Mexican than the local.”

He wasn’t the only one. Two other vendors that are set up across from him say they too have been impacted and their customers aren’t happy about it. 

Vendor: “Well our concern is that the customers are not getting what they are asking for. The carrots are not coming as quality as we expected and the price is very high and overall well the most important thing is that we want our customers to feel comfortable with what we have and we don’t have the correct product that we expected.”

Apart from the quality of the local carrots not being the same according to these ladies the difference in pricing is also affecting how they do business.

Vendor: “The price is very different because the local costs $85 for the sack and it only brings fifty pounds and the Mexican brings fifty five pounds and it costs $60. The quality is totally different.”

And how does this affect the relationship you have with the people you supply because I know you guys often supply restaurants and some of these hotels. What kind of effect does that have on the relationship you have with these persons ?

Vendor: “Well it’s a loss for them and also for us because we can’t satisfy our customers with the product because we don’t have any.”

Another local vendor that we spoke to says she has been losing out on not only local carrots but lettuce as well. 

Vendor: “Well now we don’t even have any lettuce, these are the lettuce that are they are selling us now. This is $40 a box for these, twenty four come in there. Well don’t ask about the carrots because the carrots as you get that $95 for the sack and next day it’s water. “

What do you think would be the best solution ?

Vendor: “For them to let go the license because nothing is happening with them you are losing your money and when the people come collect, when they tell you forty they want their forty you understand me and with the carrots they are telling you plain and straight if you don’t want it leave it.”

And for some leaving it is what they might just do. For others it is definitely a must have. After all what would Sunday dinner be without a sliver of carrots ?