BELMOPAN, Wed. Feb. 17, 2021– Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise, Hon. Jose Alberto Mai, and senior staff of the Ministry met with vegetable importers, distributors and potato producers of the Orange Walk District at the SIRDI conference room in Buena Vista, Corozal, where they agreed to act upon recommendations geared at expanding the local production of potatoes and lowering the prices of locally grown potatoes.
Foremost among the measures to be taken are the enforcement of stricter wholesale distribution and issuance of permit protocols. The body agreed that before any locally produced crops are harvested, the issuance of permits will be monitored. Furthermore, producers or groups of producers now need to provide importers with signed receipts as proof of purchase; and importers must also show receipts from suppliers when they apply for the importation of vegetables, to prove they have purchased local produce.
Import licenses will now only be valid for 7 days, as opposed to 11 days. Being caught with contraband produce will disqualify importers from further importation. In addition, farmers and importers now cannot interfere with the production of potatoes and local products should not be mixed with imported products.
In a recent press release, the Ministry said, “The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise thanks everyone present at the meeting and continues to chart the way forward for collaboration between producers and importers.”