REPORT #179 Feb 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

A recent Government Press Release announced the proposal of making the MARKETING BOARD the sole purchaser of internal agricultural products. The ostensible reason, was to prevent the importation of lower priced competitive agricultural products from neighboring countries and give Belizean producers a 'protected' advantage.

Baloney! Fire that dreamer and theorist right now! Get that person out of government. They have been educated in a school system that was deficient and did not do the job right. That scenario has been played out many times and shown to fail in Belize over the last 35 years. A person who cannot learn from Belizean history and get a basic grasp of agricultural economics has no business in government.

Can you see it now? You live in Roaring Creek and cut two stems of plantain from your farm and head to the market in Belmopan to sell same. You get arrested by an Agricultural Officer and a policeman, who seize your plantain, throw you in jail and the court hits you with a $5000 fine. Or you arrive in Punta Gorda on a Saturday morning from an hour's trip from Crique Sarco, with three sacks of red kidney beans, in your 25 foot dory and 30 hp Yamaha motor and when you set up on the street side to sell the beans, you get arrested, beans confiscated and fined to boot.

The MARKETING BOARD IS AN ANACHRONISM. It was a colonial idea to creating a place to sell rural farmers goods, when the colonial authorities wanted only to bleed the colony for the U.K. purposes and not spend any money in building cooperatives.

The Marketing Board function has been replaced and should have been replaced in all cases, by the formation of small farmer producer, processing, storage and transportation marketing cooperatives a couple of decades ago. That this has not occurred is a testament of the misunderstandings and lack of comprehension of a political leadership, dominated by the Belize District political machines, comprised of intellectuals and academics who have never cleared a plot of land, or grown an agricultural cash crop. Their priorities have been greed and self centeredness through lack of practical pragmatic experience, concentrated on ill founded theories based on Castroite socialist totalitarianism. It has no place in the real world of a democracy and market forces adjusting to seasonal demands and needs. What is needed are agricultural cooperatives. Not a MARKETING BOARD MONOPOLY.

"Prayer to be said next Sunday in all RC Churches" Lord save us from such fools!

The lack of agricultural cooperatives is a direct testimony to a national government controlled and lead by port town academic intellectuals. They know not what to do! The MARKETING BOARD should have disappeared twenty years ago.

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