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Mar 16, 2023

At Yemy Farm Belizeans Enjoy Farm Life and Fresh Produce

Tonight on Belize on Reel, we visit a family-owned farm in the Belize District that continues to grow in popularity for a variety of meat produce being delivered to your favorite supermarkets.  Yemy Farm started off as a small operation by former Immigration Director Mario Arzu in 2012.  Since then it has taken off as more and more customers are placing orders for local chicken eggs, lamb chops and various pork products.  It’s an operation that has expanded to employ a small dedicated staff of men and women who are all about farm life.  Here’s News Five’s Isani Cayetano with that story.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

It’s feeding time and the animals are all in a frenzy.  In the sty, the female hogs are grunting loudly. Across the pasture, sheep are bleating noisily and running together in a flock. This harmony of sounds is unmistakable and unique to the rural experience. Welcome to Yemy Farm Belize, an expanse of agricultural land just outside of Crooked Tree Village.


Paul Chang

Paul Chang, Sales Manager, Yemy Farm Belize

“Mr. Arzu had this farm going a while now.  I think he officially launched it in 2013, but it was going on before that.  This farm sits on about twenty acres of land and it’s using less than half right now.”


The brainchild of career public officer Mario Arzu and his wife, this operation has grown from a simple love for agrarian life to a promising business that feeds many, including those employed at the farm.


Paul Chang

“Currently on premises, we have about eighteen people. We have the guys in the field who essentially would tend to the animals and plants because we have guys [who] plant corn and sometimes we even plant grass to feed the sheep.”


On Yemy Farm there is always a lot for these farmhands to do. These daily activities are overseen by Matthew Williams, who is in charge of ensuring that everything runs smoothly from the fallow and the piggery to the meat processing plant.  Inside the pen, the maternity ward as it is also known, the sows are all in different phases of pregnancy.  Others have just given birth and are quite likely to attack.  They are fed and carefully inspected.


Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams, Livestock Manager, Yemy Farm Belize

“When they are pregnant, we have our sign here that when they are pregnant, we write it down, the date and also the furrowing date. Sometimes [it’s] a lot of stress because, especially when they have young ones.  Some of them are very aggressive, you know.”


Ten years ago, the Arzu family decided to venture into animal husbandry.  Since then, they’ve invested a lot of time and money into raising livestock.  Over time, the demand for pork, lamb and other meats has increased significantly.  At the slaughterhouse, it’s business as usual.


Paul Chang

“We have the supervisor from the meat room, [he] would go and select and animal, one that looks good for slaughtering, and he would contact Mr. Williams who is in charge of the livestock and he would then bring the animal here to the slaughterhouse where the guys would then take him out and, you know, cut him up in small pieces so you can have it on the table.”


The process isn’t as easy and straightforward as it seems.  Actually, it requires a degree of skill and precision that often forces butchers, as well as meatpackers, to work in concert.  That aspect of the business is overseen by Jerome Locke who also doubles as Yemy’s IT manager.


Jerome Locke

Jerome Locke, Operation Supervisor, Yemy Farm Belize

“I have been here from 2012 when the business just started and the business is now flourishing and that is something I like to see.”


Isani Cayetano

“Were there any challenges for you as someone who was perhaps getting use to being on a farm?  How did you transition from perhaps city life to being here, on the edges of the district?”


Jerome Locke

“Well the only challenge sometimes is to wake up early and try to get the farm on the road.  I mean it’s a business, it’s a family business and working here has been a great experience for me because I grew up on a farm.”


While Locke grew up on a farm, his colleagues are equally enjoying the life.  The goal, however, is to provide fresh produce to customers across Belize District.  This is being done by establishing retail outlets in Vista del Mar and Belize City.


Paul Chang

“We have both commercial and we have individual customers who make orders and we honor everything.  Being located in this vicinity, most of our customers are in Belize City, there was a time when we used to do a few runs in Orange Walk but that has died down.  We’re mainly going to Belize City and we would take advantage of the villages along the way, so anybody who lives along the path to Belize City gets free delivery on whatever they order.  And the owner is very progressive and when he saw the opportunity to open a branch in Vista and in Belize City, he jumped on it and those branches are operational and doing well.”


Expanding the business has also meant including scheduled runs for deliveries.


Paul Chang

“We take the order down. When it goes in the group chat, the meat room sees the order. The meat room supervisor then makes sure that that order is fulfilled, whether it’s to do a slaughter or we have the meat here already, everything is prepared.  We come in in the morning, we go through our list of orders and make sure that everything is bagged and packed and send the truck off to do the deliveries.”


For this budding medium enterprise, staff appreciation is equally as important as customer satisfaction.


Jerome Locke

“I enjoy being here, you know, as part of the Yemy Farm family.”


Isani Cayetano 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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