Sugarcane farmers will finally get some reprieve as the Government is looking to disburse monies promised to them. The first tranche of the disbursements will benefit over three thousand farmers. Minister of Food and Agriculture Godwin Hulse told Love News that initially they will begin with the distribution of vouchers.
Godwin Hulse, Minister of Food and Agriculture: “We had promised cane farmers some monies. There is a million US dollars form the Caribbean Development Bank, that fund is split in two- $600,000 is the first tranche to be followed by $400,000 again carefully monitored by the CDB so we begin the disbursement of those earlier this week we did both in Orange Walk and Corozal I think there’s some 3,600 cane farmers who are benefitting from that and they too are being given the relief. They are fundamentally vouchers though they are getting vouchers and after the $600,000 in vouchers have disbursed then we will go to the second portion which is $400,000. But in addition – so that’s a million US to the cane farmers which is two million Belize but remember now that in $8 million from the World Bank that I spoke about a moment ago there is also another roughly million for cane farmers by virtue of vouchers and in this cash transfer there’s about $490,000 US so that’s another $900,000. So overall cane farmers will be coming up with close to $5 million dollars in relief fund from these two programs. I would have hoped to have disbursed this from last year but because this is not money that is handed to you and despite everything you may hear about all well they could – all the rhetoric because I said this was such a transparent program we had to go back and forth with the World Bank they had to cross every T dot every I, so did CDB it took a lot of effort on the part of my stellar team to do this. No politician involved none at all and so it was strictly public officers working this program based on our BAIMS list of farmers and the World Bank visited several times and we went step by step by step. So the disbursement has taken long I was hoping that we’d have done this long ago. CDB was even worse, we had promised the farmers from last year January we should have done that and CDB just dragged on and on and on and eventually after several interventions we were able to get the first tranche of the money. So we begin this disbursement hopefully we can finish this by the endo f this month easily hopefully if all goes well the sugar can one will definitely be disbursed, that is the CDB portion. The World Bank portion after we’ve finished disbursing this $500 relief we go right away into the voucher which should start right away there after so hopefully we can get this done by the end of this month.”