Minister of Agriculture Jose Mai has sought to dispel reports that carrot farmers in San Carlos Village, Orange Walk have had to dispose of their produce. According to Mai, there is a current saturation of local carrots in the market, which has left farmers with an excess. He added that the farmers were expected to have a bumper crop thanks to the Ministry’s efforts.
Hon. Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise: “There was some misleading information. I don’t know if it was an error on their part or just political mischief but I saw a post from one of the members of the opposition saying that carrots were rotting. That photograph is untrue, there is no carrots rotting in the field it is totally untrue. I was in San Carlos for two days consecutively meeting with the farmers and there is no such thing as carrots spoiling in the field. There is a slow movement of carrots in the market. Why ? Because Corozal is producing, Orange Walk is producing, San Carlos, Indian Church, La Gracia, the Mennonites in Barton Creek and the other villages are producing carrots so there is an abundance of carrots. As a matter of fact there is twice the amount of carrots planted now than was planted last year so we knew that this was going to happen, that the movement was going to be slow but there is no carrots rotting in the field. I think sometime before in a previous interview I said that we are victims of our own success. The reason why farmers are planting more carrots or more product today is because they did excellent the year before so they plant more and then we have a surplus and we only have three hundred and eighty thousand people, 60% of that is consumption so this is expected. We knew that we were going to have a bumper crop on carrots. Never the less we have put in place some cold storage facilities. Bomba, La Gracia, San Carlos, Indian Church so we put this in place so that we don’t have this problem but we have to understanding something, that carrots does not store too long. Carrots spoils in your fridge if you put it for a week. So we understand this and we also train the families of the farmers who process carrots, carrots juice. As a matter of fact CPBL did some testing for us and they did carrot juice and the juice is excellent. We now have to set that up and market the product. So we are a small country, consumption is less because we are a small country and then we are targeting also the export market. We opened that market in El Salvador however we have too little to export but too much for our local consumption so we’re right in that spot there but I think that next year we’ll do better. We’ll try to do better, we’ll try to ensure that the carrots can be sold locally.”