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#246994 - 08/22/07 01:14 PM agricultural industry hit hard
Marty Online   happy
The agro industry in the north suffered heavy losses. The $30M papaya
crop for export is on the ground, and the corn fields have been flattened
particularly in Little Belize. Many homes in the rural areas have severe

The effect on the cane industry has not yet been quantified. Hopefully, as
most of the cane was young, it will grow back upright.

The corn crop, 6 weeks from harvest, with the heavy grain cobs on it will
not. Some salvage of immature grain, if the weather turns dry, may be
possible . The quality will be very poor if any is recovered.

The PM was right when he declared Corozal District a disaster area. It
was disasterous for farmers.

#247136 - 08/22/07 10:27 PM Re: agricultural industry hit hard [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy
August 22, 2007

The northern part of the country was severely affected in terms of its agriculture. With a report here is Arturo Cantun.

Arturo Cantun:Love FM

“The Ministry of Agriculture has finished an aerial assessment of the areas affected by Hurricane Dean.According to Chief Agriculture Officer the situation in terms of agriculture is grave.The crops most affected are papaya and sugar cane.”

Eugene Waight:Chief Agriculture Officer

“Well the situation in terms of agriculture is very grave.The crop that was hit the hardest was papaya.They lost about 95% of production which was about 1,500 acres with a value of about $22.5 million.We also have the sugar cane which was hit and we estimated about 6,000 acres damaged with a value of $1.2 million.We also had lost to pastures,about 50 acres at $50,000.And we also had damages to fruit trees and vegetables and also the bee keeping sub sector was also affected which we also estimated right now to $0.2 million damaged bringing a total to about $24 million.And I’m sure that this damage will grow because we still haven’t looked at the rest in terms of corn,rice,soy bean.We also expect damage to the poultry sub sector of Belize but we haven’t been there yet to quantify the level of damage.”

Arturo Cantun:Love FM

“Waight said the papaya industry was expecting a record production because of recent expansion of the industry,however,due to the damage produced by Hurricane Dean,40%-50% of the industry will be affected.”

Eugene Waight:Chief Agriculture Officer

“I know the industry generated about $30-$31 million last year.So in terms of losses we can estimate probably 40%-50% of that because we’re already in the middle of the year and we were also expecting a record production.There has been a large expansion in terms of acreage and we would estimate somewhere between 40%-50% loss of foreign exchange.”

Arturo Cantun:Love FM

“Another crop very popular in the north is sugar cane.You said that sugar cane was affected but we just ended a crop season.Does this still affect severely the industry?”

Eugene Waight:Chief Agriculture Officer

“Yes it will because the crop harvest starts in November-December.Every year we would have had about this stage,many of the fields that are regenerated and would have been about 75% into maturity because again the crop season starts in November which is about 2-3 months from now.So we have fields being affected at different stages at probably 7 months,2 months and 3 months for those seeds that we harvested late.Some fields were blown down completely,some fields may be able to recover but some will not be able to recover and we don’t know how long in some areas where we saw flooding,how long those areas will remain flooded.So those fields will probably also have,some may die and some may regenerate but it still may affect the output of those fields in terms of so much per acre and the quality of the sugar cane will also be affected in most areas.”

Arturo Cantun:Love FM

“The Ministry of Agriculture is looking into getting assistance for the affected fields for cane farmers from international organizations,however,the industry does not know how long before any assistance will be provided.”

Eugene Waight:Chief Agriculture Officer

“We are already having discussions to look at mobilizing resources from different donor agencies:FAO,the UN,European Union and whatever other donors we have worked with in the past.”

Arturo Cantun:Love FM

“Okay.So the formats of these two northern districts need some help with crops?”

Eugene Waight:Chief Agriculture Officer

“We’ll look at a short term assistance to try to see and maybe even government will chip in to see how we can at least get back some of the productive sector going and then we have another long term development plan which will look at a more long term plan for bringing back the northern districts to full production and productivity.”

Arturo Cantun:Love FM

“How long do you think this is going to take?”

Eugene Waight:Chief Agriculture Officer

“Well assistance isn’t as quick or immediate as we would like.They take a month or even six months.We will try to work with the different agencies that we know can respond immediately,we will work with the immediately and those that we know will take a longer because of their bureaucratic system,then we will work with those too but that’s why we’ll have a more medium to long term development plan and then we will try an immediate approach.”

Arturo Cantun:Love FM

“At the moment,the ministry is conducting a grown assessment of the affected areas.This assessment is being conducted with the assistance from personnel of the Cayo and Belize district.Waight says there should be a complete report of the damages to agriculture by Monday morning.Reporting for Love FM News,I am Arturo Cantun.”


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