All roads lead to NATS
This weekend, April 26, 27, and 28, Belizeans, in the thousands, from every corner, will be converging on a sacred plot of land in the heart of the country to celebrate the farmers and tradespersons (agro-processors, manufacturers) at the annual National Agriculture and Trade Show. There will be other activities going on in other parts of the country, especially in sports as the football and basketball playoffs begin, but this weekend belongs to the heroes and heroines who provide us with food security and earn valuable foreign exchange so that we can purchase the goods we don’t produce at home.
These are not the best of times for many of our farmers, so it is important for visitors to the show to stop by their booths to hear about what they’re doing and show appreciation for the great effort they make every year for our country. Agriculture and the fisheries sector are no longer the largest foreign exchange earners in the country, but the production of sugar, citrus, bananas, livestock, shrimp, grains, and other agricultural commodities, remain essential to our economy.
On the trade side, our food processors, meat packers, confectionery makers, beverage producers, are all facing stiff competition from abroad, so they too will be glad to talk to visitors about the numerous products they have on the market, and to discuss with them how much they appreciate the support of consumers at home.
The Annual Agriculture and Trade Show moved to the grounds between Roaring Creek Village and the capital, Belmopan, in 1970, and from its inception it is an event that has captured the hearts and minds of thousands, the show setting new attendance records almost yearly.
The NATS committee says the theme for this year’s show is ”Innovations in Technology: Driving a Climate Resilient and Competitive Agriculture and Food Sector”, and it promises a show as exciting as any in the past. The NATS press release for this year’s show says, “The highlights of the event cover a wide range of activities and competition. A major activity that highlights the show is the rodeo.
Other displays include agro-processed products, art and craft, cultural food preparations, the petting zoo, crop, livestock judging, canoe race, musical performance and the mechanical rides.
The show also honors outstanding talented persons, through the selection of the Farmer of the Year in the categories of Senior, Junior and Lady Farmer and the nomination of Miss Agriculture.”
There is always tasty food aplenty at the show, a variety of the best of Belize’s cuisine, and delicious drinks made from local fruits and nuts, provided by food vendors who have acquired licenses from the NATS Committee. The show is always a great opportunity for friends and colleagues living in different parts of the country to meet and chat about all that is going on in the world.
Security is always a concern where there are great crowds, especially since thirsty Belizeans (and other visitors to the show) who are inclined to a little drinking will be imbibing from the ice-cold stock of locally produced beer, Belikin and Lighthouse, and other slightly spirituous drinks. The Police Department says they are ready to take care of visitors to the show, and ACP Marco Vidal has made the rounds to all the media houses to explain some of the increased safety measures they are introducing for the weekend.
The Amandala wishes one and all a safe and happy National Agriculture and Trade Show.Amandala