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Dec 9, 2020

Over 600 Heads of Cattle to be Exported to Mexico

A ceremony to commemorate the exportation of another consignment of cattle to Mexico was held today at Blue Creek Village, in the Orange Walk District. A total of six hundred and twenty heads of cattle is expected to be exported to Mexico.  During the ceremony, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise Jose Abelardo Mai pledged his ministry’s support for export-oriented activities such as cattle export and stated that the collaboration between the two ministries and relevant stakeholders will continue to strengthen the formalization of the cattle trade. Minister Mai underscored the importance of the cattle trade as an important economic activity for Belize. The Minister said that the value of export earnings of the cattle trade is right behind that of sugar, a long-established export commodity. Hipolito Novelo was in Blue Creek today and files the following report.


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

In Blue Creek, over six hundred heads of cattle have been in quarantine going on thirty days. During the quarantine the cows are vaccinated for several diseases and branded as part of the preparation process. They have been fattened and prepared to be exported,but incessant rains and the flooding have delayed the plans.


Stuart Dyck

Stuart Dyck, Chairman, Blue Creek Cattle Committee

“The weather that we have had in the last month and a half has been not so very good for putting animals in quarantine. Throughout the years that we have owned this feed lot the animals always do best in the dry season. The less mud and the less rains that happen the better they do. So we’ve had animals gain up to a hundred pounds and some of them lose a hundred pounds.”


And when the cowslose pounds, farmers lose money. But today, government officials were front and center, pledging support to the Belize Livestock Producers Association and the Blue Creek Cattle Committee. And as the cattle were treated to soothing music, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration Minister Eamon Courtenay recounted his first time on the farm.


Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration

“Seventeen years ago, I came here and visited your farm, that very place we were about an hour ago and I recall music playing for cattle, first time and only time in my life I have ever experienced that until today again.”


And what the songs did for the cows, the words of Minister Courtenay did for the cattle producers.  That’s because over six hundred heads of cattle will be exported to Mexico this week. The buyer is SuKarne, Mexico’s largest meat processor.


Eamon Courtenay

“Under Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade the very first item is to negotiate a trade agreement with Mexico and Central America. That is not an accident. That is not a mistake. It is an indication of our government, under the leadership of Honorable John Briceño, our commitment to the productive sector to finding new markets and to enable and facilitate trade in a formal way for the benefit of Belizean producers and the Belizean people as a whole.”


Managing Director of the Belize Livestock Producers Association Mindy Garcia agrees. Garcia and her team are tasked with guarding the livestock industry in Belize and their primary mission currently is to have over thirty-eight thousand heads of cattle export as soon as possible.


Mindy Garcia

Mindy Garcia, Director, Belize Livestock Producers Association

“While we can understand that our livestock farmers are having an overstock of approximately thirty-eight thousand heads of cattle that we need to export BLPA formally believes that this is just a temporary solution. We need to strengthen the formal exports with both neighboring countries and try to meet bovine health requirements for au other country that the farmers would like to export.”


Making sure that all bovine health requirements are met is the Belize Agriculture Health Authority.


Miguel Depaz

Miguel Depaz, Chief Veterinary Officer, BAHA

“We have received from Mexico all the import requirements that are necessary to export cattle for laugher and recently received those requirements for fattening so our key role is to ensure that we comply with those requirements so that the animals can be imported.”


Pedro Ortiz of SuKarne says the company is excited about working with Belizean livestock producers.  Agriculture Minister Jose Mai highlighted the importance of the continued exportation of livestock to neighboring countries.


Jose Mai

Jose Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security & Enterprise

“The social and economic impact of the livestock industry has been downplayed. It has not been given the necessary importance it deserves. In other words the importance of the livestock industry in Belize has been silence for too long. That, my friends, has come to an end. Our newly elected government under the Prime Minister’s leadership John Briceño will definitely move the livestock industry and agriculture as a whole forward. The number one action in plan Belize agriculture policy from farm to table, it says we must export more and we must import less.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

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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