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Oct 2, 2019

Government Has Begun its Assistance to Farmers

The sugar industry is not the only one that has been hit by the prolonged drought, which, according to the experts is the longest in Belize since the seventies. Consequently, government declared a state of emergency after estimates put losses of produce in excess of fifty million dollars and committed to assist farmers. The assistance included the development of a working group to put together relief measures. This will include assisting farmers with low interest loans. Government has also moved to pass legislation to facilitate a grant for this purpose. Minister of Agriculture Godwin Hulse says assistance to farmers has also begun. 

 

Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture

“It’s been going good. The team has been out there working with individual farmers. You heard, we have a catalogue of most of the farmers. We have been working with individual farmers to see where that intervention is needed because it is individual intervention. Some farmers may need seeds, some farmers may need…and the idea is we are going to use coupons. So, you wah get wah coupon fo wat  you need den you wah go an get that. You no wah get money ina yoh hand cah we no know weh you wah do with the money. So, if its fertilizers you need, if it’s seed you need, you will get a coupon for that.  The grant that we are getting or hope to get has to be triggered by some piece of legislation. It can’t just be that we are saying, oh, we have this. So the piece of legislation that came out form the governor general was in order to trigger that but also it gives us the opportunity to be able to deal with all the other things we have on the table. Our sugar exports, which is one we are talking about, our corn exports, etc. It gives us the opportunity to be able to deal with that in a more focused way through the banks and through the other agencies. As you heard at the press conference, the most fundamental thing was the financial intervention of the banking section because that is where people will hurt the most. You don’t have a product to sell you need money to replant and you need a little reprieve in your repayments.”

 

The losses are expected to trigger some spikes in prices for consumers in future and the ministry is monitoring the situation to avoid price gouging.


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