Potato imports halted to protect local production in Belize

The Ministry of Agriculture of Belize recently convened a meeting at the Agriculture Show Grounds Conference Room in Belmopan; potato producers and importers gathered to verify potato production figures and estimated harvest dates.

The discussion opened with a presentation on the amounts of potatoes in production, by district. It was estimated that the Cayo District has the highest production with a total of 1,300 tonnes, followed by Corozal with 267 tonnes, the Orange Walk District with 130 tonnes and the Stann Creek District with 20 tonnes.

According to a guardian.bz article, the estimated production for this year is 1,680 tonnes, with harvest dates starting in the first week of February 2018. Based on these estimated production figures, import licenses for potato have been closed by the Ministry of Agriculture. This policy will stand until local production has ended.

Last year there was a surplus in production for potatoes as a result of which many farmers had to contend with having to drop the price of their products for sale. The Ministry of Agriculture at the time had allowed for import of potatoes which overlapped with the local production. This year, with proper planning, that problem will be eliminated.

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