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Feb 20, 2019

The Glut of Potato Supply in the Country

Turning to glut in potato supply in the country.… The Chief Agriculture Officer, Andrew Harrison says that Belizeans consume over three point five million pounds of potato annually; one hundred thousand pounds weekly.  And the production of red potatoes is more than consumption.  P.U.P. area rep and shadow agriculture minister, Jose Abelardo Mai, has a different view. He says that the ministry is responsible for the surplus in the fields, which could eventually lead to farmers losing on their investments. But Minister of Agriculture, Godwin Hulse says that the issues are only being addressed under the U.D.P. administration and the agricultural sector is booming.

 

Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture

“What the release says is accurate. The potatoes produced up north is a much smaller percentage of the total national consumption and production. This ministry has sat with potato producers, before my time and since my time, to try to get this to come to a balance. The problem is one, we don’t have the necessary storage and harvests come in at the same time. But remember that we also have to balance consumption with production and you can’t have Belizean people calling for we have a shortage of potato and then we have a glut. So we try to even that out and that is what the ministry has been doing. So I do not at all weigh in on this thing that it is the ministry’s fault. The farmers we have met with; we’ve spoke to them. One of the things I will say is we are not going to get into this control of price and control; this is a commercial activity. The same way we have been doing with cane farmers. This is a commercial activity and the more people recognize that, the better we will be. You don’t want government in the mix; you want government in terms of sanitary and phyto-sanitary issues. You also want government to do certain facilitation and the ministry has. We’ve produced markets; we are doing now a complete census around the country—I think you are all familiar with that to know who’s where, doing what, when and so—so that we can address these kind of issues. The ministry and the C.E.O. especially have been very active in trying to create a virtual market place and using technology so that we would know who is preparing what, when, what quality, etc. and be able to get to the market.”

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