Ministry of Agriculture launches long-term dairy strategy
The Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Enterprise has launched the National Dairy Strategic Plan. The strategy focuses on the priorities that need to be addressed to improve the dairy sector, by making it more: productive, competitive, profitable, and sustainable. With these issues in mind, the industry is hoping the strategy helps to improve quality, increase production, sustainability and profitability through innovative policy and regulatory decisions, availability of relevant information, technology adaptation and innovations adoption and dissemination. Minister Jose Mai spoke to the media.
Hon. Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise: “It’s a launch of a national dairy strategy and it focuses on a number of things. The most important thing is that it will focus on how to make the industry more competitive, how to make it more viable, how to make the product even better. So for example how do we enhance the quality of a product ? How do we market in our region and in the country? So the strategy is a very holistic document, it’s very inclusive of all these components which are needed for us to make the industry bigger. The private sector which is the dairy producers, our ministry, BAHA, all the technical people worked on this strategy to get it together.”
Ernie Thiessen, the chairman of the Dairy Association, said that his organization welcomes this path forward.
Ernest Thiessen ,Chairman, Dairy Association: “We had a great achievement today concerning a plan forward I should say in what we have been lacking a long time already for what would happen if the government would actually put their mind and their hearts to it to produce to support the milk industry where fresh milk could be on the table for everywhere and we have seen that today where the minister is actually responding with signing a document where we have a plan how the farmers will grow and improve and also what the government is gonna do, they will do their part and so collaborating together to make the dairy industry a vibrant industry for the country of Belize. I think it really took place in the hard times in 2020 when everything was locked down and we had to put hands together, we went shoulder to shoulder with the farmers and we went and we started to see how we could work together. I mean we had to hold hands to walk because we were flooded with milk and we had no way how to get rid of the milk and we started to join up hands and started to work together with Shipyard, with the farmers around the Spanish farmers and everything so we formed association and we’re established a year and a half now that we are an actual association working together collecting data for the ministry and we give them reliable information and working together and see how we can improve the farms to have better quality of milk out on the markets like from the farm to the table.”
The Ministry adds that access to the necessary capital for investment in infrastructure and technology to produce a high-quality dairy product is also a critical lynchpin of this agenda. This will allow for the industry, supported by an appropriate policy and regulatory environment, to secure greater local market share and reduce dependency on imported dairy products.