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Dec 2, 2022

San Pedro Opens Marketing & Development Outlet for Local Producers

Everyone knows that prices of goods are not their cheapest in San Pedro, simply because it is a top tourism destination. So even the price of a regular plate of rice and beans that you pay eight dollars for in Belize City, could easily cost you twice as much on the island. But now, the price of locally-produced perishables can be purchased for much cheaper at the newly-opened office of the Belize Marketing and Development Corporation on Barrier Reef Drive. News Five’s Marion Ali was present for the opening today and filed this report.


Marion Ali, Reporting
The symbolic ribbon-cutting of the Belize Marketing and Development Corporation’s new office in San Pedro means good news for small farmers who do not have a market to sell their products. Administrator of the B.M.D.C., Valentin Carrillo told News Five that the San Pedro office will do as all its other branches in the various district towns – offer small farmers access to sell their produce.


Valentin Carrillo

Valentin Carrillo, Administrator, Belize Marketing & Development Corporation

“The past years we have seen that the small farmers especially and the small agro-processors don’t have where to market their products. Their products are too small to export and it’s too large an amount for inland Belize. They don’t have capability, that marketing facility that we are able to provide.”


Carrillo says that because San Pedro is also a tourism destination, it offers a unique market for both locals and visitors and the B.M.D.C. does far more than just finding a market.


Valentin Carrillo

“We source it out, we market it, we brand it, we label it. That takes a lot of time from the farmers so they dedicate to what they are really good at – producing high-quality stuff, we market it for them.”


The outlet offers lettuce, coconut oil, rice, sugar, freshly-packaged meats, jams, pepper sauces and ketchup, and wines. And for the first time, the B.M.D.C. is engaging in contract farming with honey producers.


Valentin Carrillo

“We do contract-farming with the honey producers. We buy all their honey, we label it and we market it for them so they don’t have to worry about selling or going all about looking for markets. We take care of that. For example, see these Belize Jewel honey, this is different from regular honey which is the clear one here. According to various sources, it’s of better quality and the health benefit is better than the clear honey.”


And there is no special selection of farmers, according to C.E.O in the Ministry of Agriculture, Servulo Baeza.


Servulo Baeza

Servulo Baeza, C.E.O, Ministry of Agriculture

“We don’t select. To be honest with you, we don’t select. We just try to work with as many farmers as possible. Some are more organized than others, like in cooperative, for instance, so it is easier to make that linkage with them. But we do not choose the farmers we work with. We want to work with all farmers.”


But the opening of the office benefits more than the farmers. It also offers convenience to people like Wilda McIntyre who before now always wanted to purchase things like fruit pulp, but could never find the product on the island.


Wilda McIntyre

Wilda McIntyre, San Pedro Resident

“It’s wonderful because we’re now getting fruit pulp. I just purchased a dragon fruit pulp and we here haven’t been able to get that. We haven’t even been able to get the fruit sometimes. So it’s wonderful. I have to go out of the island to actually purchase the fruit. So it’s wonderful because it’s all healthy stuff, straight from the farmers. What more can I ask for?”


Valentin Carrillo

“The hotels, the average tourist that wants to take something out, the restaurants and so forth, so we want to provide something for them to see that it’s real Belizean authentic products.”


And what could be better than landing farm products at affordable prices!


Valentin Carrillo

“The mark-up that we are doing is very minimal, only to cover certain costs because we are here for the farmers, not really for us to do business out of this.”


Wilda McIntyre

“The prices are excellent and we’re getting stuff that we weren’t able to source before.”


Administrator of the B.M.D.C., Valentin Carrillo says that they hope to fill the shelves of the San Pedro branch with more perishable produce in the weeks and months to come. Marion Ali 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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