This year's NATS will be from April 29th through May 1st.
"We are pleased to announce our 2016 dates. Make sure you come out to the best show of the year in Belize!"
The National Agriculture & Trade Show Grounds is the venue for Belize's premier annual agriculture & trade exposition. The grounds include general display areas, a rodeo, stables, and a main stage area for entertainment. The venue is avaliable for rental for other events.
The National Agriculture and Trade Show Committee under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, the Environment and Sustainable Development hereby announces the dates for the National Agriculture & Trade Show to be held April 29th, 30th and May 1, 2016.
The Committee advises that reservation and sale of concession stands, food stalls, open spots and commercial booths will commence on March 4, 2016 at the office of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, the Environment and Sustainable Development – Market Square old lands building in the City of Belmopan between the hours of 9:00 am to 4 pm.
Previous holders of concession stands, food stalls, open spots, and commercial booths who participated at the 2015 National Agriculture & Trade Show are also advised that they must make arrangements for the renewal of their lease by April 15, 2016.
All roads leading to the National Agricultural and Trade Show in Belmopan
The National Agricultural and Trade Show (NATS) occurs once a year and it is the largest show of its kind anywhere in Belize, which brings agricultural enthusiasts, farmers, students and others unto one place. Plans for the NATS event continues apace with much fervor. The National Agriculture and Trade Show Committee under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, the Environment and Sustainable Development has announced that the dates for the National Agriculture & Trade Show will be on April 29th, 30th and May 1, 2016.
This year the upgrades to the grounds are concentrated in the “agriculture zone”. A new garden for year round demonstration and training for schools is being established. New barns are being constructed for livestock display that have been designed and built by Ministry of Agriculture personnel.
“We are expecting a record turn out again…,” says Roberto Harrison, who is Belize’s Chief Agricultural officer and the Chairman of the National Agricultural Show Committee.
For this year, the NATS committee has decided to consolidate the rodeo and livestock show into one area. While there will be rodeo shows on both April 30th and May 1st, the bull riding will be done on Sunday, May 1st.
As is done every year, entrepreneurs will be coming in to show their wares at the many commercial booths around the showground. The Mennonite community will be having their large implements on exhibit. There will also be mechanical rides for the entertainment of the children.
The cost of entering the show grounds, which is located by the Guanacaste Park or at the entrance of Belmopan, is five dollars for adults and two dollars for children up to the age of 12 years.
The National Agriculture and Trade Shows have been held for many decades, but it was in 1972 that it was decided to move the show from El Cayo to Belmopan.
“We have tried to transform the show to be more agricultural and trade oriented where we can showcase Belizean products that are in fact made in Belize,” says Roberto Harrison.
“Again we want to invite all of Belize to come and join on a weekend of fun.”
The show itself gets underway at 2:00 pm with the opening ceremonies on April 29th, and then the gates will be opening at 6:00 am on April 30th, while the gates close at 6:00 pm on May the 1st.
One thing we can say with conviction is that a visit to Belize is a treat to your palate. With no large restaurant chains, you can bet that our small establishments are serving up the freshest of produce. As a Belizean – and a foodie – I can assure you can’t get fresher produce than what is skilfully turned into culinary masterpieces across the county. After all, Belize’s main and most vibrant industry is agriculture, and we pride ourselves in it.
From meats to veggies and seafood to fruits, agriculture is a way of life in Belize. With fertile soils and a bountiful sea, there is no shortage of fresh produce. We Belizeans have been doing ‘farm to table’ long before it was trendy!
In typical Belizean style, we have to celebrate that which makes us so special, and what better way to do so than with a three-day festival? For years the National Agriculture and Trade Show (affectionately known by Belizeans as the Agric) has been a highlight on Belizeans’ calendars. Since its establishment in 1970, the show has grown by leaps and bounds, featuring all aspects of Belize’s agriculture industry. The main objective of the show is to educate the public on the importance of agriculture and its contribution to the Belizean economy and food security.
This show is so monumental that the show grounds was created specifically for the Agric – talk about important! Each year during the Labour Day weekend, the grounds at the northern entrance of Belmopan City come alive with general display areas for produce, a rodeo area, stables, and a main stage area for entertainment.
One of the main reasons why I attend the Agric is for the food. Be prepared to break that diet, because you will be in for a feeding frenzy! From freshly prepared cuts of meat – grilled, smoked and fried – to sweet treats like ice cream – in a million and ten flavours – your taste buds will go wild! Oh and let’s not forget the drinks! Only at the Agric can you get a ‘yarda’ (oversized tumbler) of freshly squeezed OJ with your favourite local rum – only if you are 18 and older – for chump change.
If that still has not convinced you to attend, bear in mind this show is the place where you can get some of the best deals on furniture, cell phones, plants, flowers, and even commercial equipment.
Custom made furniture…
And for the cowboys and cowgirls in all of us, there is a rodeo!
It is one of the most anticipated events, and takes place on both Saturday and Sunday. Another highlight of the show is the judging of crops and livestock displays; commercial and industrial display booths; tractor operation contest; coconut husking contest, musical entertainment by local musicians/groups; horseback riding; honouring the Farmer of Year; dog show; and the motocross competition. It’s a lot happening at once, but man is it a blast!
This year, NATS is being held from Friday, April 29th to Sunday, May 1st. With an overload of produce, livestock, plants, food, drinks, music and live entertainment, this is a “can’t miss” event.
The National Agriculture and Trade Show takes place this weekend at the show grounds in Belmopan. Thousands are expected to converge there for the event which begins on Friday and concludes on Sunday. A highlight of the show is the selection and announcement of the Farmers of the Year, both male and female, as well as junior. This year, the male farmer is Ever Blandon of Valley of Peace, Cayo District; the female farmer is Maria Lara of Trio Village, Toledo District; and the junior farmer is Eric Can Junior of Succotz Village, Cayo District. The outstanding farmers are being recognized for their innovative and hard work as well as their approach to agriculture.
From a friend... We went this morning. Definately a much lower attendance. The car parks were almost empty at 9am and no queues. The agric part at least had some nice animals.
A company from Orange Walk was selling sheep (Dorper) at $4000! There were Boer and Saanem goats that were around $1000. Apparently this is related to the Taiwanese/Belize genetic improvement initiative from a few years ago.
The only thought I had was that it was very similar to last year. A ton of small food booths serving pretty much the same old things. Were BTL and Smart there/ i did not notice them. In past years there were crowds in their booths. It was not the heat, it was quite cool at 9am. I would say 40% of last year's attendance on Saturday, which is the peak day i believe.
The National Agriculture and Trade Show took place over the weekend at the show grounds in Belmopan. The annual event drew thousands looking for deals in goods and services. This year, the traditional was offered complemented by a mix of new products in a wide range of items such as chocolates, jams, sauces, beauty products and much more. News Five’s Duane Moody was in Belmopan and has the following report.
Duane Moody, Reporting
Thousands of Belizeans converged on the National Agriculture and Trade Showground in Belmopan this weekend as the 2016 Agric Show got underway. Every year, nationals would travel from across the country to take advantage of the many deals that are offered by various companies; from phones and gadgets from companies including Smart, BTL and Go Wireless to offers on items such as toiletries and juices. And then there are those who make the event a family outing – to taste the different foods available on the grounds and the many different activities for the entire family.
As the day progressed with the trading of goods and services, we came across a group of local producers with their unique Belizean products. Skincare, processed foods, such as jams, and beauty products were on display at this pavilion organized by the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service, BELTRAIDE.
Mike Hernandez, Senior Communications/Liaison Officer, BELTRAIDE
“We are here in support of our young entrepreneurs. As you know BELTRAIDE has various units. One of them is the Small Business Development Center which is geared specifically at supporting young entrepreneurs and providing them with the necessary training so that they can be competitive. And so we have several of them here present. As you can see quite a wide variety; from chocolates to beauty products, pepper sauces, tambranero and products from New Jerusalem and essentially she has some repellants and so on.”
The south was well represented with Maya Center’s famous Che’il Chocolate by the Saqui family. Aside from the variety in chocolate products, the Saqui’s took the opportunity to debut its newest product, a chocolate tea with all its health benefits.
Julio Saqui, Che’il Chocolate
“People have been coming, their asking, their seeing, their tasting; we’ve got some chocolate for them to taste because some of them have never seen a pod itself. Some of them don’t even know that Belizeans do make chocolate. I’ll tell you what, we make fine, high end quality chocolate and we got it here all at the Agric. We want people to come in, we want them to try it; let them take some to their families and friends and let them enjoy what Belize can do. As you can see, on our label, it says a taste of real Belizean chocolate; that’s what it is. Today we have chocolate bars in both dark—which is more healthier for you—and then we have the milk chocolate as well, which is more sweeter with regular chocolate that you’ll find. We also have cacao nibs which is the heart of the chocolate; we have cocoa powder, we have instant chocolate drink. And then the newer one that nobody is making in Belize except us is the cacao tea, which is made from the thinner shell of the actual bean itself. Very healthy, lot of chocolate flavor, but think about the health benefits—the antioxidants, the antidepressants, the proteins the magnesium…all of it is in this tea.”
If you are not from the city and haven’t had the chance to taste the amazing sauce at Fibbers on Cemetery Road, you had an opportunity at the Agric. Co-Owners Eloim Ellis and Hortence Young were out giving everyone a sample of their secret sauce.
Eloim Ellis, CO-Owner, Fibbers Sauce
“We have the original Fibbers Sauce and we also have the hot and spicy; these are two amazing sauces made here in Belize.”
“Talk to us about the sauce. What’s special about it?”
“What is special about this sauce? This sauce is unique; it’s the only of its kind. It is a multipurpose sauce that can be used on so many things. It is a great substitute for ketchup, for barbecue sauce, also for dressings for salads. And we hope that every Belizean get the opportunity to try it.”
“How has the reception been?”
“It has been amazing. We’ve had people that had tried the sauce from Corozal all the way to Punta Gorda…great feedback. They are asking us to get it in the supermarkets in the different districts so that they can get access to it.”
The agriculture industry is a huge revenue generator for the country. In the south, the citrus industry started back in 1913 with the first citrus plantation, before expanding with its first processing plant in Pomona Village, Stann Creek almost seventy years ago. This industry exports citrus products to several international markets and provides hundreds of jobs in the south. But did you know that there were thirty varieties of citrus fruits?
Luis Tzul, Citrus Growers Association
“We have two booths out here…we have one for Citrus Growers Association where we display all the services that we provide and then we have the second group that’s the plant world nursery. There is where we do the certified plants for the industry. Plant World Nursery is located on the road to Red Bank and it’s a commercial nursery with the capability of producing up to four hundred thousand plants per year. We have the different varieties here; the main one is Valencia oranges and marsh grapefruit, which is what the industry needs. But we have lemons, we have limes, we have mandarins, other grapefruits; we have ortaniques, tanjoes. We have about thirty varieties of citrus.”
But the agric show has had its own share of its incidents. Last year, a man was stabbed on the head with a knife and died following an altercation on the ground. Luckily this year, there were no serious crimes, but the Emergency Medical Technicians were out at the ground strategically smacked in the center of the grounds to provide assistance to the many visitors of the Agric. EMT Darwin Slusher says that cases of hydration and exhaustion abounded.
Darwin Slusher, EMT Intermediate, Belmopan Emergency Services
“The crew and the ambulances are here to provide first and foremost emergency medical support in the event we have a trauma or a medical patient. We’ve been here from the opening of the grounds on Friday and we decided to bring a little bit of our equipment along with our units and our staff. As you know, the heat in Belize is pretty on these days and so we are advising the general public to stay hydrated and replace back electrolytes that they may lose. So far, we have had minor emergencies, but no fatalities which is good. We’ve had quite a number of people coming to us complaining of tiredness and on assessment we actually find them suffering from severe dehydration which could have led to a heatstroke. So what we did was to do immediate interventions. All our staff was fully trained and so they were able to administer some IV therapy which assisted them and then transported them to the nearest facility, which is the Western Regional Hospital. So yes, we have been busy in that aspect. We had one trauma incident; nothing of serious concern.”