As we reported on Thursday, meteorological forecasts for the Jewel indicate that 2020 could be another dry year. Now that’s bad news for farmers who are still trying to recover from the effects of last year’s devastating drought which ravished through the agriculture sector here in the North. For the sugar cane industry alone loses were estimated in the millions with more than thirty percent of the production completely lost.
Following that major blow, the Government of Belize and the Ministry of Agriculture pledged assistance to farmers in the form of a two-million-dollar loan facility from the Caribbean Development Bank. Now while farmers are yet to receive this assistance, Minister of Agriculture Godwin Hulse, says that they have just recently completed a register of the farmers and within weeks, funds will be issued to those affected.
Hon. Godwin Hulse- Minster of Agriculture
“The first problem we had if I may say so was just to try to register all the farmers, I think that is legend that I’ve said that we have to know who it is and so we completed that exercise farmers continue to register but we cut it off by the end of October that gave our team a chance to categorize it to look at the farms and then we had to send that list to CDB whose providing the two million dollars, it’s a government loan but it won’t be a loan to the farmers we are going to carry that and then so that list has gone, CDB is reviewing it, there was a call for intervention by FAO these agencies of course want to make sure that you are accurate and proper and not just trying stock number and say well so many farmers so we had to give details, that took a little while so we sent that list and hopefully in a week time we should get it back, but remember it would not affect this crop but it’s the crop that is coming and so we have looked at it in terms of trimesters when we were looking first and said well we are going to support the last trimester which was the cane that was cut in the last so to speak and that is one we are going to try and do a boost and so farmers decided no, no bother with that so that’s why we are going to the new crop.”
Minister Hulse also highlighted current efforts carried out by GOB and the Ministry of Agriculture with the international financial institutions to fund a water management plan for the agro-productive sectors.