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Apr 13, 2023

Mai on Ostrich Farms: As Long As They Meet the Requirements, I Support It

Two weeks ago, we heard from the Leader of the Belize People’s Front, Nancy Marin, who is also a businesswoman and farmer. She has opened a restaurant that offers exotic meats on the menu and ostrich is one of them. But the Forestry Department has an issue with the classification of ostriches, based on international standards before they can grant permits for their importation. Are they livestock or are they wildlife animals? The Belize Agriculture Health Authority has already granted Marin permits to keep the ostriches she has in her possession, which she says she purchased right here in Belize. Today, we asked Minister of Agriculture, Jose Abelardo Mai for his position on this new potential industry in Belize. He said that as long as the importers can meet all the standards, he supports them.


Jose Abelardo Mai

Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture

“I have no problem with somebody wanting to import ostrich. If they meet and they comply with the regulations. If it’s CITES, if it’s not, if it’s an animal health issue, if they comply with it, I have no problem. I will go and enjoy the ostrich too, but once they meet and comply with the regulations that they ought to. There are countries that are growing it, that domesticated it and, and I have seen farms of it. Other parts of the world have, they considerate livestock. It may be livestock, but it may still be CITES. So your country has to regulate based on what we are seeing at CITES International. And so we have to ensure that these, uh, birds that come into the. Meet our regulations. Once they meet the regulations, then there’s no problem.”

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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