Monday, February 2, 2009

February Belize Agriculture News 2009

One of the green parrots who are carrying tales of news around Cayo District to my window.


Can’t vouch for any of the following, but the rumor mill, in the shape of a few tiny GREEN PARROTS stopped by my house and told me the following, while sitting on the branches outside the living room window.
SPANISH LOOKOUT had TWO BIG OIL SPILLS about ten days ago. None of the media have been alerted, or reported same in newspapers or on television, and the government is to be congratulated on keeping a lid on this environmental disaster. Must be what they call a D notice in the UK?
Genetically modified seeds are sporadically and selectively being banned in Belize, but there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it? You can buy genetically modified vegetable seeds of sorts, except like corn and beans. Papaya grown for export are supposed to be genetically modified varieties. We also import all of our genetically modified cereals like Corn Flakes from the USA, which are genetically modified produce sold in cardboard boxes, mostly by the USA and Mexico for human consumption.
The BIO SAFETY committee that makes these decisions does not have a single respectable big farmer on the committee for decision making, so it is said. Farmers over in Spanish Lookout say there is more danger from the massive insecticides they have to apply, than from genetically modified seeds, approved by UK research, or from the USA FDA.
You hear a lot about government agriculture assistance and protections, but one farmer reported that he just had to pay 90% duty on his PVC irrigation pipes for his crops.
Some farmers want a FREE TRADE DEAL with our neighboring Central American countries. The argument is that we can compete, because of the transportation costs, versus bulk production. They allege our GOVERNMENT is saying no! The CABINET of course is run by non-farmers from the port town mostly. Very intelligent people down in that port town on agriculture issues
There is a bureaucratic and political desire for us to export to CARICOM, but the only market that works is for small loads of beans. CARICOM seems to be a loser for economic trade policy. When the bureaucrats are asked to provide foreign export markets, they back off, even though the CABINET keep announcing in press releases, of all the various government departments, that are SUPPOSED to locate export markets, presumably collecting big time salaries to do so? There should be some sort of supervision and report card for bureaucrat market researchers in government departments. We need a scorecard to see how well they are performing. Any chance of getting a list of names and phone numbers? The bureaucrats tell producers they must find their own information, but we farmers have no internet and can’t do so. The government according to farmers is dysfunctional in the export marketing realm.
There was more gossip, but the last parrot had flown away, before I could write all this stuff down, so I tend to forget.

No comments: