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Feb 5, 2019

Is the Contraband of Mexican Potatoes Affecting Local Farmers?

According to Mai, local potato farmers have also been affected by contraband. He says that all relevant stakeholders should come together to prevent the perpetuation of illegally bringing in the vegetable as it affects local producers.


Jose Abelardo Mai, Area Representative, Orange Walk South

“The good thing about this is that the Belizean potatoes are red potatoes and the Mexican is white potatoes. So it is clearly seen. So the only time that they can smuggle in potatoes just at this point, just before the local potatoes start coming in. They can bring in a hundred, five hundred bags and say “see I still have potatoes. I didn’t sell it. I got this off my import permit. I haven’t sold everything yet.’ And that extends and extends and it never ends. It is never consumed nd a nightmare for these farmers. At a dollar per pound, I think the farmers deserved it. They pay taxes. Look at the roads they have to travel on not to mention the hard work. I would tell you something, what is admirable from these people. You know that the people from this community here have sent people to study in Cuba. They have people who have bachelor’s degree and master degree. Do you know how they do it? Just working the land and selling their product.”


Hipolito Novelo

“How many farmers in San Carlos are being affected?”


Jose Abelardo Mai

Jose Abelardo Mai

“We have about twenty-five farmers here. They are all producing an average of an acre and a half per farmer I think. All there are asking is for eight weeks so they can sell their potatoes. We hope that they don’t face the same problem as the year before.”


Hipolito Novelo

“At what point does the farmers start losing their money?”


Jose Abelardo Mai

“I think at seventy cents they are breaking even. But if you can’t sell something and somebody offers you eighty cents, you will take it. But really a decent price would be a dollar a pound. That is what they deserve to earn for their hard work. A great amount of this is going back to the government in taxes.”

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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