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Oct 27, 2021

An Early Harvest of Carrots

Today, the media was invited to witness the early harvesting of carrots from the fields in San Carlos Village in the Orange Walk District. The orange root vegetable was of good quality and was a test carried out by the farmers to plant earlier than usual in an effort to supply the market demands.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Potato salad, coleslaw and even fresh veg are just not the same without carrots. Aside from the adage that it helps with your eyesight, this root vegetable is sweet and can be eaten raw and cooked. Whether by local producer or imported, the country consumes roughly forty-four thousand pounds of carrots weekly.


Barry Palacio

Barry Palacio, District Agriculture Coordinator, Orange Walk

“We are here this morning to see a historic harvesting of carrots, earlier than what is usual. These farmers planted in the months of July, which is off-season. They did that and despite the weather challenges and the different other challenges that they had, they were still successful in producing a good quality carrot just as we are now seeing. And that in itself is something to salute the farmers because they did it.”


San Carlos Village, una comunidad agricola – translated as an agricultural community – is based in a remote area of Orange Walk District and provides a large percentage of the vegetables in the markets. Members of the New River Farmers Cooperative were out harvesting acres of carrots, which are then manually washed and bagged before they are picked up by a buyer before makings its way into markets and stores. Village Chairman, Maximiliano Hernandez is a member of the cooperative.


Maximiliano Hernandez

Maximiliano Hernandez, Chairman, San Carlos Village [Translated]

“On this farm, it is normal for all products to have their harvest time. Carrots usually have to be three months to one hundred days old to be ready to harvest. In this area where we are, it is not the practice to seek the best. It has to be wet so that it is easy to harvest, so that it is soft. But there is always a percentage that is rejected. That selection process happens during the washing process. It is necessary to take it to the wash area because it has dirt. We simply harvest the amount that more or less we want to sell to the market. This coming week, the first week of November, the production is going to normalize. All November, all December, harvesting starts in Cayo, starts in Springfield, starts in Barton Creek and the markets are full.”


The Ministry of Agriculture has a policy to desist from issuing importation permits for vegetables, specifically in this case, carrots, to give farmers fair access to the markets. This is to ensure the survival of the industry and the lifeblood of the farmers.


Servulo Baeza

Servulo Baeza, C.E.O., Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security & Enterprise

“As long as there is local production of any of our products – whether it be carrots, whether it be potato, whether it be onions, whether it be celery – anything we will not allow importation to come in. It’s the first time that we are harvesting that we are harvesting carrots so early. I think the farmers mentioned it to you because our policy is import substitutions so we need to have local production. If we can extend the period of time that we have local production then that means that we will be importing less.”


Elsewhere in the media, there had been reports of carrot shortages. But as harvesting commences, the projection is that for the next six months, local carrot farmers will be able to fully supply the national demand – but according to District Agriculture Coordinator Barry Palacio that will not be without its own challenges.


Barry Palacio

“The projection for carrot production is within the range of almost three million pounds of carrots. Historically, Belize only produces one point two, one point three million pounds of carrots. So the projection is that we will have the other side of the problem in which the farmers will be tasked as to how they will market their product. And unless we do value adding or some other product or perhaps a new market, the farmers will have that problem.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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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