I got a message from Mr. Rafael Omar Gongora, that I should call him, which I did, out of courtesy and interest, and wow, the gentleman had just about the greatest news any farmer, any Belizean, could have dreamed to hear. Mr. Gongora said that his company will be adding condensed milk to the list of products it already has on the market, and that his facility where he will produce sweet milk is well under construction.
Of course, I asked him what he was standing on to make such a pledge, and he referred me to his present business, Chemical Specialties of Belize Ltd. I did look up that business, and I found out that his business was established in 2000, and that his company’s vision is to “promote the spirit of production and entrepreneurship in Belize.” Chemical Specialties of Belize Ltd. is in the business of producing quality products that are genuinely Belizean. At this time the company is producing stuff for cleaning such as degreasers and deodorizers, and products with medicinal/healing properties.
The star of Mr. Gongora’s company is “Citrus Power”, made out of 100% natural orange oil, and his company flies under the motto, “Serving the local farmers, producers and agro-processors of Belize.” Before you get off, asking what makes Mr. Gongora so ambitious, well, note that Lord Ashcroft started off in the cleaning business, and he rose to fame and fortune with brooms, mops, soap powder, and disinfectant.
Mr. Gongora’s factory is being set up in Ladyville, and he says his first supplies of milk will come from the dairy farmers in Spanish Lookout. I asked him if he will supplement with powdered milk from abroad, and he said his intention is to only use local products. Of course, his company will have all the sugar it will possibly need, right here in Belize.
Mr. Gongora says his market studies show that Belize imports $4 million worth of condensed milk annually. I didn’t ask him, but I assume that is Belize dollars, with landed cost c.i.f. (cost insurance freight), but not the wholesaler and retailer markups.
The company is not limiting itself to condensed milk. There are a number of milk-based products sold in Belize — condensed milk, evaporated milk, natural milk, UHT milk (La La), powdered milk, baby formulas, cocoa-flavored powdered milk, butter, and cheeses. (Dear God, are the Dutch the only people who can make Dutch cheese? Whoa, I love my Western Dairies cheese too, especially the tangy white cheddar.)
If I remember correctly, Mr. Gongora said that apart from sweetened condensed milk, his company will also be producing powdered milk, cocoa-flavored milk, and milk-based confectioneries. Hope I got those all down correctly.
Make no mistake, if all goes to plan, we will be witnessing a game changer. The location of the factory, in Ladyville, creates a lot of immediate possibilities for the farmers in the Belize River Valley, from Lord’s Bank to Bermudian Landing. The Ministry of Agriculture must seize the moment and give assistance to the small farmers of Belize. We have heard of people high up in that ministry taking all the best breeding animals. That must stop.
Absolutely no research is needed to produce the cows that will give us milk, because in the 1970s and 1980s the greats at Central Farm already did all the work on pasture development and breeding (including artificial insemination), and the dairy farmers of Spanish Lookout have a lot of expertise to lend. Research will be needed, however, to find out the most feasible systems for milk collection from the farmers and transportation of the milk to the factory.
It will be easier to get the milk production side of the business off the ground if we start with those who already own cattle, so in the next few months the Ministry of Agriculture should be reaching out to all the farmers in Belize River Valley who are cattle owners. They will have to identify how many breeding bulls will be needed for the next season.
Immediately after mobilizing the ranchers who want to get a share of the market for fresh milk, other farmers who would like to participate should be identified. I could hazard what kind of production cows in Belize are producing right now in Spanish Lookout, but let’s wait until I get a chance to go ask some questions, or someone in the know volunteers the information.
By 2022 we should have the first calves to expand the national dairy herd, and by 2024 milk should start gushing from udders like never before in Belize.
I promised to get all the numbers, but I just had to share the exciting information, that what I was thinking about, someone, Mr. Gongora, had already thought about, and a thousand times more than that — he has the capacity and he already has his factory well underway.
The government must give this proud, ambitious company all the assistance it needs, and when the first package of sweet milk and other milk products hit the market, we absolutely must buy Belize.
Males in this country have to take up this conversation
There are a lot of women in our country who are saying a lot of things about gender roles, and the men in our country are not making a peep. The way I see this world, if someone says or does something, and you feel you can improve upon what they said or did, you should present your contribution. In my book of poetry, published by the wonderful Miss Emma, there’s a lee poem that’s an, ehm exposé.
In the old days, men, when they couldn’t have their way, or just to control, made truth, and now I think women are guilty of doing the same. They say it is about righting wrong, but you can’t get there being incorrect.
I read this story about a judge who agreed with a school principal who fired a female teacher because she was too much dynamite to teach boys and male youth. The teacher said that she had done everything she could to look ehm¯plain, but all failed. If I remember correctly, the teacher said she understood the judge’s ruling. That girl, too much distraction!
Ahem, you can’t downplay how a woman looks. Some women’s outstanding trait is that they are extremely smart, and some are very practical, and some are very witty, and some are very charming, and some come with lots in their package, and some ku kaaz uproar jos by the way dehn luk.
Look, I didn’t mean to say all that. Let somebody else say it, let somebody else say it, but you can bet that it won’t come from the men’s group that exists to tell women everything they want to hear. They are pandering for you know what. And it won’t come from the homosexual group, bikaazn dehn noh andastan.
In one week I read and heard two of our wonderful women, Dr. Abigail Joseph in the Reporter and Ms. Lisa Shoman on Love FM, talking about “male toxicity”. I hadn’t paid any attention to that term before, but it’s the story now. I will just say that to my mind there is a lot of substance to what those ladies are saying, but there are things to which you have to say whoa, hold, and somebody has to say it.
Those who are regular readers of my column know why I am lying low. I got called names I didn’t know the meaning of. I have only myself to blame. I was warned about not finishing off my thoughts, leaving things open to explore another time. No, let me get off that, and on to this. I am begging menfolk to defend turf.