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Feb 8, 2019

Agriculture Minister Says Local Potato Farmers Not Disregarded

Potato farmers in San Carlos, Orange Walk are worried that thousands of dollars in investments and a huge amount of red potatoes will go to waste. That’s because imported white potatoes from Mexico are still in the local market. In a meeting held in early January, the farmers were told that permits for the importation of potatoes had seized. The local farmers expected that the white potatoes would have been consumed out of the market by now but C.E.O. Jose Alpuche told News Five that the white potato is at its ‘tail’s end.’ Today, Minister for Agriculture, Godwin Hulse, told the media that the permits were issued so there is a continued supply of potatoes.


Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture

“The ministry has tried its best together with the Ministry of Trade to balance this out and as a consequence from time to time in any commodity this kind of overlap. The impression given out there that they are being disregarded is completely false because what has happened is a balancing effort. You will also recognized that what we have done in the Ministry if provide market space for a lot of the farmers. We have done in Corozal, Belmopan and in the south where farmers can actually do their own direct marketing. The ministry has met with all the farmers to try to get them to a balanced price, supply. The issue with potatoes in this country really is its storage because everything tends to come in at one time and you have to have that storage so we can schedule. The ministry is also working with some people on that in terms of processing and the ability to store and hopefully we will be able to get on top of that. But the general comment out there that farmers are being neglected is totally incorrect. Sometimes I am disappointed that those are being pushed instead of understanding what is happening. It is not as though the Ministry or anybody in government is trying to undermine the farmers. It is just the other way around. In fact we have done a lot to support the small farmers especially I as the Minister have always is focused on that and trying to bring these people up. I will add that just last two weeks ago we took a delegation of farmers to El Salvador, small vegetables farmers, farmers who are producing onions so they can see a system of production over there, system of marketing over there. All of that was funded by the Ministry. We went with a high level delegation. One of the things that was said over there by farmers over there they could never imagine government being so involved because in their country the government is not involved at all. Last but not least though I will say that I have no intention of setting prices and getting into that. Government has no business in that. Let the market work. Market sets the price.”

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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