Vegetable Interdiction Unit Aims to Protect Local Farmers in Belize
Another recent move being made by the government in addressing price controls and consumer protection is the Vegetable Interdiction Unit. The government says they established the unit to minimize contraband goods coming into the country which hampers the local farmers, their produce and profits. Speaking on this was Minister of Agriculture, Abelardo Mai.
Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture: “2022 we started having problems. Why? Because the borders started to open up and contraband has always been a difficult thing to control. We have porous borders, we have long distances where borders are exposed and it’s difficult to patrol everything. And so we started to see that the Belizean local products started to sell less and less although production went up. That unit was formed when we saw the need to try to control or curb the contraband. We will never be able to eliminate contraband, never. We will be able to control it. Our aim is to control it and allow our local products to be sold at an affordable price that is what we want. So, this unit was comprised of the Ministry of Agriculture, BAHA, Customs, and the police. They have done a lot in the last few weeks but I note that the public criticizes when you catch the contraband. I find that extremely strange, maybe a little unfair but the reason being is that people want cheaper products.”