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Dec 6, 2011

Rice farmer at odds with ministry

We have been reporting on the woes of rice farmers, some of whom are now going out of business. Their sales have dipped by as much as fifty percent and the importation of Uruguayan rice has contributed to their financial losses. On Monday night, the Ministry of Agriculture reported that grain growers in Blue Creek and Minister Rene Montero had cordial discussions on Friday.  The release states; “A commitment was made by the minister and farmers to work together and find solutions that will enable the industry to remain sustainable and keep our self-sufficiency in rice production.” According to Peter Dyck of Uncle John’s Rice, the information issued by the Ministry following the sit down with the minister, sharply contrasts with their position as it relates to the way forward.  Dyck says he does not believe that any such agreement has been reached, especially since they were berated by Montero during the meeting.

Peter Dyck, Managing Director, Uncle John’s Rice

Peter Dyck

“We had a meeting in Belmopan on Friday of last week in regards to the water and irrigation policies that are supposed to be implemented and coincidentally the Minister [of Agriculture] ran into us and he asked us in for a meeting and that meeting was not, in my opinion, very successful.  We were lectured there for about ten minutes on the kind of people we were, [we were described as] not very helpful to this country because we would go on radio and expose them.  So he was not very happy with that and that continued for another while until I walked out of the meeting because I simply would not sit there and take slack from the Minister of Agriculture who is at the center of this whole issue.”

Isani Cayetano

“So contrary to what the ministry has released in terms of the outcome of that meeting nothing went according to what the press release said basically?”

Peter Dyck

“Well the time being that I wasn’t there no, no, it was all contrary to what the release says as far as I understand it.  I understand from my partners that did stay in the meeting that they had been offered to meet again and to see if they can work out their differences but I don’t think that there is that collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture and the farmers as he claims that there is.”

Isani Cayetano

“With regards to your particular business I know you mentioned to the media last week that Uncle John’s Rice has closed its doors to the Belizean public for good.  Has there been any change of heart in terms of trying to figure a way forward in terms of the financial state of affairs of the company?”

Peter Dyck
“Well no, the reason we closed our doors for rice production is because we’re a good sized company and we’ve been in business for twenty years and I just did not want to become a slave to my ambition which has been rice for twenty years and I decided that it was time that we ventured on to other projects because we are pioneers in agriculture and when you encounter direct competition from government ran entities like the BMDC you know it’s just time for us to look for something and move on.”

According to the press release, rice farmers are scheduled to meet in Belmopan with officials from the Ministry of Agriculture on December sixteenth to further discuss issues affecting the industry as well as solutions to the existing problems.

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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14 Responses for “Rice farmer at odds with ministry”

  1. Earl Grey says:


  2. Conscious Belizean says:

    I can only believe this man, i know the type of people that have rose to the ranks of ministers and also understand their spitefulness. to say that the mennonites are not helpful to this country is total BS. they are the reason we are self sufficient in a lot of areas. Food, Industry and the like. they are the only ones that think progressively. the average belizean waits for hand outs from the government which most of the time is doing the same from other countries. if all belizeans had the same mentality of belizeans we as a nation would be in a better state. i believe that the montero should humble himself an remember where he came from and apologies to mister Dyck

  3. Victoria says:

    These farmers need to be respected, they are the breadwinners of our country, The lazy ministers and the thugs in Belize will not plant nor raise anything to sustain Belize, so leave these people alone and work with them or they will move to other countries and we have to import everything, then life will be much harder

  4. mylegacyb4mypeople says:

    looks like the minister of agriculture has found his niche for getting rich at the expense of the people of Belize and country’s economy by accepting payments for concessions to import rice while the local rice producer shuts down his facility and lay off workers. Why should so many suffer under the hands of a few.

  5. hard woking Belizean says:

    A shame and disgrace that a Belizean Gov’t Minister behaves with such arrogance and non-caring towards our local producers!! That is exactly why Belize will not get head way and we continue sinking deeper and deeper in this $#!% hole this unscrupulous gov’t has buried us in and continues to bury us deeper and deeper!! Belizeans we need to unite and take a stand to put a stop to this %$#%##!!!!

  6. from the west says:

    Rene Monterro may well be the most incompetent member of parliament that our country has ever had. Remember the GMO debacle.

  7. blackberry says:

    Do we really want to know where the imported rice came from? Then charge the people who were in possession of the rice, In court they will say who they got it from.

  8. Ragamuffin says:

    How he made it to be a minister is a wonder after all the things he did in Central Farm years ago…… ask the people who used to work with him… they know and are ready to talk

  9. Unknown says:

    Down right rude how can he say something like that and he is a minister of government. Lead by example… what would it be like if Mr. Dyck had disrespected him in the same manner and told him that HE is not doing anything for the country other that making us be more dependent on foreign goods.

  10. belizeanpride says:


  11. Betrayal says:

    In Barrow Administration most private business competitor is a member of government, they have all your information then they create a company exactly like yours and competes with you. They have no overhead so they can undersell your. Espionage.

  12. CEO says:

    If we have a rice surplus in Belize then why didn’t they buy the rice locally to give to the poor rather than pay to ship rice all the way from South America. This is the heights of stupidity to start with!

    So the Menonites have not done anything for the country hah? Where the heck has Montero been? If all Belizeans (including elected officials) would have the work habbits these people have our country would not be languishing this long!

    Then for Montero to give the farmers a lecture even after he is the one that did something stupid is even one or two notch lower!

    Anything that we grow locally should never be imported only if there is a natural disaster that wiped out our crop and we cannot wait until next crop grows.

  13. Peter says:

    Well, maybe the minister was right. They (mennonites) were helpful to a certain extent. However, all Belizean farmers must be supported equally reagardless of circumstances. But Mr. Dyck said the other day that rice farmers from the south should not be supported by the government in their payments and that support should go for them. That was not a fair because they too are rice farmers too. Please, everybody must be treated equally. The Mennonites only want to produce the rice and supply the country. thats not fair, that is what they want. let us be fair in business for everybody. Belize. Democratic country.

  14. J says:

    Peter Dyck doesn’t seem genuine … All he does is complain. First of all of was not the minstry who bought the Uruguayan rice.. It was an charitable organization . Second if Dyck wanted to help he should bring down his price where instead of importing cheaper rice then there would be no need to import rice . Third, Mexican rice is far cheaper than in Belize and much cleaner … And we r blamin he govt for the contraband .. At the end of the day Dyck is simply not making the amount he had been making and is pissed .. Lower your price make smaller profits …’Mennonites try to control all the industries in Belize .. Chicken corn and rice nah man…

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