The sporadic weather continues to increase losses to farmers across the country. Here in the north, vegetable farmers are experiencing significant losses as some have been unable to plant while those who did, have no crop to harvest due to overly saturated soil. The constant rains have provoked hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of loss in the agriculture sector. Government conducted a damage assessment late last year but as the weather pattern fails to improve, farmers continue to lose their crop. Given the national impact the rains are having, the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, is providing some assistance to farmers across the country. This morning farmers congregated in Orange Walk Town to receive the much needed assistance. Dalila Ical reports.


Screen_Shot_2014-01-16_at_8.56.24_PMDalila Ical – Reporting

 

Farmers from the Belize, Orange Walk and Corozal Districts today received seeds, fertilizers and food coupons from the government in an effort of easing the financial loss they have sustained due to continuous rains.

 

Present for the ceremony was Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture, Gaspar Vega.

 

Honorable Gaspar Vega – Deputy Prime Minister


“En esta zona como dije se produce como el 70% de toda la cebolla, producimos un poquito más del 50% de todos los vegetales que se produce en el país. En el distrito de Orange Walk se produce un poquito más del 50% de todas las carnes que se produce en Belice, todo el ganado, así es de que ustedes son gente muy especial, muy importante para la economía de Belice.”


About one hundred fifty farmers received assorted vegetable seeds, fertilizers and some food assistance. Acting Director of Extension at the Ministry of Agriculture, Belarmino Esquivel says those most affected are being assisted.

 

Belarmino Esquivel  - Acting Director of Extension for MOA


“We have identified those who have lost their cabbage and we are giving them cabbage seeds, those who lost tomatoes we are giving them tomatoes and those who lost both of them we are also giving them both types of seeds.”

 

Dalila ical – Reporter

 

“Has the department made estimation or what are the figures of the losses incurred by the farmers on a whole and the impact on the agriculture sector so far?”

 

Belarmino Esquivel  - Acting Director of Extension for MOA

  

“Certainly, the vegetable area we have over 3 million dollars that was lost, and what we are primarily doing with the assistance is to get them back on their feet to start over so that we can have the vegetables for the local market.”

 

And the assistance comes at a crucial time for farmers who are solely financially dependent on farming.

 

Farmer


“Hay que traer alimentos a la casa, proveer el sostén para esos que están estudiando, es una presión grande que si nosotros no los controlamos podemos quedar paralizados, pero gracias a Dios que todavía nos da ese valor de poder pensar y poder continuar para poder salir adelante por eso quiero agradecer en estos momentos a todos ustedes que fueron presentes y a ellos por tomarlos en cuenta y gravémonos en nuestra mente y vayamos a casa con alegría, vamos a recibir semillas, señoras y señores a plantarlos con la fe para con su obra para traer los frutos para poder seguir adelante.”


Farmers like Edna Dias of Progresso have seen losses in cane, vegetables, and apiculture.

 

Edna Dias – Farmer

“Yo creo que con un valor de 3 mil dólares o 4 mil dólares así.”


Dalila Ical – Reporter


“Esta ayuda que están recibiendo hoy hasta donde los lleva, que tanto les ayuda?”


Edna Dias – Farmer


“Pues en realidad la ayuda que se da es poco como dijo el ministro no da para recuperar lo que uno pierde pero por lo menos es una ayuda y más trabajo como dicen, ayuda pues porque con la semilla pues puedes continuar y tener la esperanza de tener una cosecha.”


Esquivel says more damages continue to be reported and as such the Ministry is looking at other ways to keep helping farmers. And the situation will ultimately also affect consumers countrywide.

 

Honorable Gaspar Vega – Deputy Prime Minister of Belize


“Vamos a tener aumentos en los precios porque vamos que tener que importar mucho más de lo normal y para hacer las cosas peor de donde importamos que es Quintana Roo ellos también tuvieron problemas así es de que ellos van a tener que estar trayendo sus productos de mucho más lejos que lo normal, así es de que vamos a tener un costo mucho más alto de lo normal para lo básico.”


Officials report that the assistance rendered to farmers across the country is over half a million dollars. This assistance is being issued to farmers and also livestock farmers in the Belize District who lost most of their pastures. Among the most affected are onion farmers who have lost most, if not all their crop in 2013.

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