The Belize Marketing and Development Cooperation say they will be limiting their purchase of rice from Toledo Farmers this year. According to Managing Director, Roque Mai, in a meeting held with farmers on April first, they agreed to buy the same varieties of rice this year; however, they will only be purchasing four million pounds of rice paddy from farmers in the Toledo District.

Roque Mai, Managing Director, BMDC

“We’re going with same variety as last year. We have proposed to farmers that we are purchasing four million pounds of paddy this year. BMDC is avoiding the problem that we will run into this year with the bumper crop of rice and also the financial constraints we face with the farmers. We are looking at a trend where we have 4.3 million pounds of paddy in the bin so by the time harvesting comes we will have about 1.5 to 2 million pound of paddy so with the four million pounds t be purchased, the new paddy it will run us up to six million pounds which is good to run us through the entire year. I believe the problems should arise in over production. Like I said the position is that BMDC will purchase four million and I hope farmers have been advised that they will have to seek other markets to sell their produce.”

Mai says they will be buying from both milpa and mechanized farmers. The BMDC director says they are trying to improve on variety and quality of rice.

Roque Mai, Managing Director, BMDC

“There is overproduction of rice. We have to compete with the Blue Creek farmers which are more advanced than the Toledo farmers. It is not that we are discouraging production, at this moment we are trying to hold on and see to find ways and means to improve. In fact variety and quality is what we are looking for farmers in Toledo, they are sticking with one variety. I hope changes can come and they can work with us.”

In addition, Mai says they are yet to decide on a purchase price for the rice paddy. Although there has been a proposal of thirty-six cents, Mai says the BMDC may not be able to afford it.