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Feb 6, 2019

Agriculture C.E.O. Addresses Potato Farmers’ Concerns

On Tuesday, we reported on the mounting worries of dozens of potato farmers in San Carlos Village, Orange Walk. The farmers are concerned that they will not be able to sell their red potatoes because there is still an abundance of imported white potatoes from Mexico in the local market. The farmers were expecting that by now, the imported white potatoes would have been consumed out of the market especially since Belizeans consumed more than a hundred pounds every week. In Belmopan today, Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Education, Jose Alpuche, responded to the farmers’ plight, adding that he was appalled by what he saw on News Five on Tuesday night.


Jose Alpuche

Jose Alpuche, C.E.O., Ministry of Agriculture

“To be very honest Duane, I was a bit surprise and at the same time annoyed by what I saw on the media yesterday. If ever there was a case of grand standing at the expense of farmers, it happened yesterday. The reality is that the last permits for importation of potato were approved by the Ministry on the eleventh of January. Those permits I believe expire eleven days so they expired on the twenty second of January. It is for two hundred thousand pounds of potato. We consume about a hundred thousand pounds of potato a week. Those potatoes should be at the tail end as it relates to license granted by government to importers. The other thing on the, I believe, the twenty second of January our technical people met with representative of all the potato produces to discuss the very same issue. We always have a difficult balancing act at the start and at the end of these crops because we have to close off but we have to balance with farmers bring it and with what consumers demand. Yesterday was quite frankly as far removed from the truth. As a matter fact, whatever is here as it relates to imported potatoes should be drying up now and the question right now that is really concerning is whether we will have sufficient domestic production at this point because as you know with all these crops they start off low and then they grow.”

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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