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Nov 24, 2011

Is Belize importing rice from Uruguay?

Protection of fertile natural resources is not only to maintain stable ecosystems but also for supporting agricultural production. The sale of locally produced rice, according to several grain growers in the north, has seen a dramatic decrease since May of last year.  It is rumored that the Belize Marketing and Development Corporation (BMDC) has been importing rice from South America despite sufficient harvests in the 2010 and 2011 crop seasons.  Undoubtedly, if the allegation is true, the importation from South America has resulted in major losses for farmers like Stanley Rempel, one of a number of large growers in Blue Creek.  Rempel told News Five via phone today that a recent customs seizure netted five sacks of rice believed to be shipped from Uruguay.  The introduction of imported rice and the subsequent drop in sales of the locally grown staple has a handful of farmers in the Orange Walk District abandoning their paddies.

Via Phone: Stanley Rempel, Manager, Circle R Products Ltd.

“We have been experiencing low sales in the last year and a half or so and we believe that rice was being imported right, but we didn’t have proof or anything but in the last couple of weeks we have heard reports that it has been confirmed.  The Customs [Department] has confiscated some rice that was illegally imported into Belize and this confirms what we have been believing for about a year and a half why the sales have been low.  Right now we’re just finishing up milling the 2009 crop and we’re milling the 2010 crop and we’re harvesting the 2011 crop right now so we have a lot of rice.  There’s absolutely no reason for anybody to be importing rice.

Isani Cayetano

“Yeah.  Can you speak to us somewhat on the losses you have incurred personally as a producer and distributor of rice?”

Via Phone: Stanley Rempel

“Well the biggest losses that we have [are the] rice that we have from a year ago are still sitting in the bins which we haven’t been able to get paid for yet so we’ve lost a lot of farmers because they just can’t make it.  They can’t afford to just have the rice sitting there and it’s spoiling in the bins right.”

Isani Cayetano

“Have you made an effort either individually or concerted with other growers to address this matter either with the Marketing Board or with the powers that be?”

Via Phone: Stanley Rempel

“We have previously.  We believe that the Marketing Board was involved with importing the rice and we have consulted them and always and again they have said that they were not, they were not involved with it.  They were not responsible for the rice coming in but from the reports that we have heard it has been confirmed that somebody is importing it.  The customs have confiscated some rice and the stores that had bought it reported that the persons they had bought it from resembled or were wearing uniforms resembling the ones from the workers from Marketing Board.”

News Five attempted to get a comment from the managing director of the BMDC earlier today; however, all efforts were fruitless.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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5 Responses for “Is Belize importing rice from Uruguay?”

  1. Truth says:

    Who the hell is running our Maketing, ‘BMDC’ is very not a productive system in increasing our economy and giving farmers inspiration to farm and feed the entire country of Belize, we have almost everything we need, on our soil, this is a down right disgrace. Its almost like stealing 42 assault ammunitions big slap to Belize. BMDC is run by idiots, there is no logic reason for this, are we good with our very own neighbors, does BMDC have anything against rice production in Bze or Mr. Rempel himself. Commercials every where use to say, u buy in Belize u build bze, these idiots didnt get it..

  2. ME says:

    That is just dirty. but its not the first time something like this happens remerber last year the importation of onions from holland, many farmers from the norht lost acres of onions (tons) becouse some greedy politician did the foul move to earn monies for his pocket. this is very sad for the politicians we elect work for thier own benefit ignoring the greater need, and best good.
    BUt yet again we are responsible in a way for putting those tirans as our leaders. Belize we are bieng slapped over and over bye those in red and blue. Time of desperation is here , we need new fresh minds to work for belize (people) and not for themself. hope we awake from this coma, couse our time is close for caos to reign.

  3. O.Walk Observer says:

    Shame and disgrace to the Marketing Board and GOV on a whole; everybody knows quite well that Belize has been self sufficient on rice production for some years now. There has been surpluses enough to export; so I suggest to the Blue Creek producers, please look at the outside Market especially now that CARICOM is not charging any environmental tax. Do not be tied to the Belize Market; it is small and idiots are running our Marketing Board.

  4. Friend says:

    Rene Montero Smart you know!!! He find the dumbmest people to head something so he can then run it himself. That why His CEO took a beating from the PM himself.

    It the same problem with Marketing Board. The Manager is just rubber stamp: dont know what to do or where to go or how to get there!!!!!!!!!

    Just study everything that Rene put his hands on. An the bad part is that its both Rene’s. The Minister and the Chairman of San Antonio

  5. dunfedup says:

    the a’holes at BMDC have been shafting the rice farmers of the north for a long time. how can our farmers succeed when they have to be in DIRECT competition with our gov’t?? these scum are filling their pockets and our PM says he wants evidence. Evidence that if one of the farmers provides he knows he will not see his life continue normally.

    understand the farmers of the north have tried to export but are blocked by the same lowlife on account we might run outta food! hypocrisy, farmers can’t sell locally becuz bmdc drives the price down and can’t export cuz bmdc says we have shortage of local rice. Anyone know that BMDC is selling THEIR rice for 60-65 cents a pound to retailers but has your price gone down?? And it shouldn’t go down. Our farmers need all the $ help they can get. Lord knows the farmers down south get $ help. But no in the north!

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