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Dec 12, 2011

Rice growers want ‘marketing board’ shut down

We broke the story of the rice crisis back on November twenty-fourth. The largest producers in the rice industry from Blue Creek have seen their sales dip since last year. Uncle John has been hit so hard, it is getting out of the business. Recently, there was a lot of heat when it came to light that rice was imported from Uruguay. The growers say that was only the tip of iceberg; that in fact contraband rice has contributed to the perilous state of the industry. Four growers also say government policies are counter-productive and getting in their way. They went so far as to say that the Belize Marketing and Development Corporation should be closed down because it is directly competing against them.

Stanley Rempel, Circle R Products

Stanley Rempel

“My recommendation is, as a rice producer and solely for the rice industry, my recommendation would be to have marketing board shut down. It’s one thing to have competition in the market, which is healthy, but it’s another thing to compete against your own government. They don’t like us to call it subsidized rice, but call it whatever you want there’s taxes they don’t need to pay, there’s a whole list of things that how they can have cheaper rice than us and they are under selling us by a big chunk. So for the industry I think that is one thing that they need to do, to have the marketing board stop interfering with the market.”

John Peters

John Peters, Uncle John’s Rice

“Roque Mai, the Managing Director at BMDC is on the record saying the cost of production in the Toledo area is eighty-one cents per pound. How are they selling for sixty? Where’s the difference coming from? The BMDC is in a huge deficit position. I heard over the weekend they were nine million dollars in debt. Who’s paying that bill as a government organization? We are. We’re tax payers, we have jobs, we pay taxes; that’s who’s gonna pay for it. Why are they competing against us when they’re in a deficit position? And they’re supposed to be a non-money making organization, yet their people are building huge houses and the organization is doing well. There’s just a heck of a lot of rice being sold that isn’t being produced in this country by the BMDC. It’s gotta come from somewhere; it’s not coming from the farmers in the north, it’s not coming from Cayo, it’s not coming from Toledo. Where’s it coming from? Those are questions we’ve had for the minister for months, we don’t get an answer. We’ve had that question directly asked to the managing director at BMDC; no answers to that. It’s coming from somewhere and somebody needs to find out where.”

Peter Dyck, Uncle John’s Rice

Peter Dyck

“The BMDC really has never played its role that it was intended to be for this country or for the producers, therefore, we think it shouldn’t exist because it’s costing tax payers millions and millions of dollars in wages and doing promotions with the Toledo farmers rice which they shouldn’t need to because this country doesn’t have that amount of excess rice that they can afford to do promotions.”

Peter Dyck of Uncle John’s rice, which has closed down, says that Beltraide would do a better job of managing the industry than the BMDC.

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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13 Responses for “Rice growers want ‘marketing board’ shut down”

  1. J says:

    Am so sorry but these people are speaking nonsense now

  2. Dave says:

    I agree… They “hear” that it is running in a deficit. What I really hear is that they want the price of rice increased. So they blaming bmdc for contraband… So who to blame for all the contraband beer? Maybe bmdc too…this is utter foolishness

  3. bzn2dabone says:

    Although thewse gentlemen may have a point, to me it looks like they are fighting to keep the market closed so that they may set their own price on the product. They want to create a monopoly in which they will decide what they want to charge us for rice. This should not be allowed to happen… Government should look into the matter to see if these people are saying the truth and come clean to the Nation. Additionally, the rice producers in the North need to make sure that their price is competitive in the market. How come we can get cheaper rice all the way from Uruguay? They need to answer this question first before pointing fingers and making yerri-so accusations.

  4. Beautiful says:

    Everyone knows these guys are telling the truth!This government need fi go!

  5. Sydney says:

    I can’t understand there complaint if the government is selling rice cheaper isn’t that better for the people? Then, if BMDC is working on a deficit to provide cheaper food in the hands of the who can’t afford it then i can say JOB well done. And if they are telling the truth it is even more reason that more Belizeans are able to eat everyday. Bravo BMDC.

  6. CEO says:

    Every government in Belize have screwed up local farmers! This is nothing new and seems it will never end and this is why Belize will never be self sufficient with argicultural products. Perhaps we will go back to the days when there were no eggs come Christmas time and no rice so we had to line up at the tortilla factory to get a substitute for rice.

    All you who had all those negative comments I have one question for you: how many days have you spent on a farm to learn and experience what it takes to grow a pound of rice or beans or any other food?

  7. jade says:

    would we rather have other countries control our food supply than our own farmers that are under the control of the Belize government and the people of Belize ?

  8. dunfedup says:

    ….bone & sydney; the short answer is that the consumer is NOT benefiting from the cheaper rice-only the shopkeeper. The rice coming from out of country is not taxed to death at every step of the process even including duty into this country. If you listen to the whole interview you will hear Mr. Reimer say that the taxes need to be applied at final point of sale and remove the taxes along the way. Most other countries do not pay these type of taxes! If the gov’t were brave enough to do that all rice would be selling cheaper including our own and we would be in an export position. The same is true for other commodities as well-beans, corn, etc.
    We want ( and get) preferential treatment of our sugar to the EU and bananas as well but are unwilling to keep our own farmers sustainable? Come on! Competition is good and every farmer will say that including the rice framers but not when you have to fight the gov’t for market share.

  9. jade says:

    Sydney, do you realize that it is costing the farmers in Toledo 81 cents per lb to produce rice and producing only 10% of what the country needs then selling it for 60 cents at the expense of the rest of the farmers in the country that produce the other 90% rest of the rice which translates to no production in the future.

    In the end of 2012 we will see rice at a price that we have never seen not because of what is happening at home but what is happening in Asia, then we will regret for not supporting the larger industries.

  10. OG_Rick says:

    for one even if the growers are simply pointing fingers the price of rice has gone up its 1.25 a pound so no matter if BMDC is bringing in cheaper rice its not affecting the price the consumer has to pay just my observation I buy rice…. btw as belizeans wud u not think its better to purchase locally…. there is a good reason why Uruguay rice is cheaper just think maybe they bring the rice in for lil to nuting and they don’t pay any taxes or cost of production or harvesting please think before attacking the farmers…. I believe we shud put Belizeans foremost thats why we have consumer protection to bridge btw consumers and providers to endsure we aren’t being cheated or over charged… its a lack of implementation of several agencies input thats contributing to this problem…. this seems like the Onon case whereby GOb brought in onions and had belizean produced onions rot…. this is not good…. but please I believe agriculture is the strenght of a country! we shud not be depending on foreigners to provide basic foods and grains what will happen when we cannot get them imported we wil starve we know not what the future hols especially in this climate we are living in all over the world things are tuff right now!

  11. ivan call says:

    the poor people are not benefiting from cheaper rice its only GOB-from the taxes,and BMDC only them d make profits the poor have to pay the $1.50 per pound in villages…beans are $2.50-$2.75 per pound,so where is everything going down and who is benefiting,not we the POOR….WHEN WILL THE COST OF LIVING GO DOW “NO MATTA WHAT MR.BARROW? UR GOVT GOOD BECAUSE WE THE PAY U FI UNO HUGE SALARIES,PAY FI UNO FUEL,SECURITY etc- for what fi do NOTHINGGGGGGG.

  12. murphy says:

    j, Dave,Sydney u dont know anything about farming and your are the once speaking nonesense, i agree with Beautiful, jade and OG_Rick. I am a cane farmer i know bout farmimg was a UDP supporter but know I am voting for Blue
    1. This government has to go.
    2.UDP government a few months ago prefer import onions and left the once produced locally to rotten.
    3. UDP government attempted to sale (BSI) Belize Sugar Industry a few months ago to a Banco Atlantida, that stupid on their part.
    4. Now rice produced locally is not being sold, i could be that the rice being imported is cheaper, but hey if we dont buy goods produced locally our economy will never grow worse with this government!!!

  13. DonPepe says:

    Who is benefiting from that, Rene Montero, you built a two story house for his son, his daughter, driving a Prado, and you can keep on going and going, of couse they don’t want no one else prosper just them and they are doing it from our tax money, hate those !@#$%.

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