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Jun 29, 2020

Loan for Cane Famers Not Enough

The C.D.B. Enhancing Sugar Cane Farmers Resilience to Natural Hazard Events Loan motion was also tabled in the House on Friday. It is for one million U.S. dollars and the purpose is to assist the thousands of sugarcane farmers who were affected by the 2019 drought. The problem is that there are over four thousand cane farmers in northern Belize and one million U.S. dollars is not enough. This was brought up by Orange Walk South Area Representative Jose Abelardo Mai on Friday.

 

Jose Abelardo Mai, Area Representative, Orange Walk South

“I want to believe that they would divide this by tons delivered which is the best and equitable way. So a farmer who delivers a hundred tons of sugar cane would get a hundred and fifty three dollars. This farmer will be producing six acres of sugar cane. A hundred and fifty three dollars is three bags of fertilizer for six acres of cane.  That is fifty pounds of fertilizer per acre. Where this pesticide is coming from and land clearing, I don’t see is coming at all with this little money. A farmer with a hundred and fifty tons of Madam Speaker could get two hundred and twenty nine dollars and twenty cents. That is for nine acres of sugar cane. That is four bags of fertilizer for nine acres. Madam Speaker the minimum requirement for fertilizer per acre, do you know how much it is? Four bags of fertilizer per acre. And here we are approving a loan for a million dollars US for five thousand four hundred cane farmers Madam Speaker. What a shame. What a disrespect to the cane farmers of this country.”

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“This is what we could get from C.D.B.  It is not the entirety of what we are seeking or what we are getting. May I just point out that while there is eight million dollars U.S. coming from the World Bank while is not specifically for the farmers it is for agriculture. There is I believe already a D.F.C. line that can assist with the farmers. So just to say that this is no singular, this is not solitary. This is not standing on its own.”

 

This season, the industry has been having a number of issues. Milling started late and then had to be interrupted due to the recent rains.


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