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Mar 26, 2020

Food Minister Says Belize’s Food Stock Adequate

Godwin Hulse

A main concern in the population is over food security so thousands are stock piling food item. A committee called the COVID-19 Food Supply Monitoring Committee met on Tuesday to discuss the country’s food stock and mitigation efforts that are to be put in place to ensure that Belizeans have food on their table in the coming months. The committee, which included several stakeholders such as the Opposition’s Jose Abelardo Mai, the private sector and the N.G.O.s met to identify and address specific short- and medium-term challenges, that are expected to arise during this time of crisis. Minister of Food and Agriculture Godwin Hulse said on Wednesday that Belize has sufficient basic food and feed grains to sustain the population for over six months. There is an adequate amount of staples such as corn, rice, beans, sorghum, and soybean. According to Hulse, there is two months’ worth of white sugar and five months’ worth of brown sugar. Poultry remains stable and beef, pork, and local cheese stocks exceed six months. There is also enough vegetable supply of fresh produce. Overall, Minister Hulse says that Belize ‘is sitting pretty.’

 

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Food and Agriculture

“In the case of sugar, we are sitting really, really good. We have a consumption of twelve thousand metric tons. We will have a reduced projection this year but we will be running about a hundred thousand tons so we have a lot of lot of sugar brown and white. The issue there will be is the plant closes because the sugar is not in storage. Some sugar is in storage adequate to take us; there is enough brown sugar to take us. There is an oversupply of yellow corn and a good supply of white corn. In fact the corn normally that we produce goes in to Guatemala but there may be some difficult there but there is adequate corn. There is more than adequate beans both in terms of black eye, red, pinto and soy beans from which we have the oil, cooking oil. As you know we have already started that process again is in an abundance supply. So we don’t have a difficulty there. Rice, we don’t have any threat. Rice, we are sitting at fourteen million pounds in a country that uses twelve. So we have a whole year supply and we have a crop in the ground. Hopefully we get some rains, hopefully that continues. In terms of vegetables, vegetables are perishable so you don’t store vegetables. Vegetables are coming in from the farmers but if we do have to bring out of Mexico we have already put a mechanism to ensure that comes in. There is no gouging.   In terms of meat, again there is adequate poultry, adequate eggs, and adequate beef. Fish products, we have tilapia and we have shrimps if you put that as a crustacean into that mixed. We may have to start to eat some of our own bananas and we definitely have to eat our own oranges as fruits for our table. There is not a problem there.”


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