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Aug 17, 2011

Export market for cattle demands cattle testing for diseases

On Tuesday, the Government of Belize in collaboration with the European Union, launched its three year National Cattle Sanitary Plan. The aim is to test all cattle in the country for diseases and by extension, develop a national livestock registry for the exportation of cattle to Mexico and other countries. The work on the project started over two years ago, and today a twelve point two million dollar contract was signed.

Rene Montero, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries

Rene Montero

“Indeed today is a very historic for the cattle industry in our country because of the implementation of the National Cattle Sanitary Plan, better known as the cattle sweep, in which all cattle in the country will be tested for brucellosis, tuberculosis and the plans for BSC or the mad cow disease. In addition, a national livestock registry will also be developed for traceability purposes. This step is also important because it is needed for the exportation of cattle to Mexico and other countries in the world.”

Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas, Managing Director, BAHA

“This is a historical event that is going to take place this afternoon. This reason is that we have major export—we have market access to Mexico, we have traditional export like citrus, bananas and citrus. We have tapped into livestock. This is a good market we are going to have. We have been working so long to make this as a reality.”

John Carr, President, Belize Livestock Producers’ Association

John Carr

“I agree with Mike Thomas as this is the biggest thing that has happened to us in the livestock industry in Belize because it is finally going to open up markets. And it is all about markets; we have to be able to sell our products. And I sincerely believe that now we are getting a dollar to a dollar ten for animals. I believe that in two years we’ll be getting a dollar fifty. I would bet a little money on that. I really do believe it’s that good a deal.”

Gabino Canto

Gabino Canto, C.E.O., Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries

“We’re very happy to say that we are initiating a process where the benefit will be for our livestock farmers, but also it will be foreign exchange earnings for our country. And this is something that the ministry worked hard to achieve and also with the European Union, they have a lot of requisite that we need to meet and for that reason it was very, very difficult to get it in a short period of time. But the perseverance that we had has gotten us to this state.  I am happy to say that we will be working along with the private sector, the cattle farmers of Belize, to continue the work that we have started and it will be very exciting to see the first head of cattle going to Mexico in the near future; hopefully in the early part of 2012 because this process will take approximately eight months to finish.”

The EU will be contributing six point one million dollars while GOB, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, OIRSA and BLPA, will contribute the other fifty percent of the funding.

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