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Noticias: detalle

Productores de cebollas afirman que las importaciones los están arruinando
Fecha de publicación:19/04/2011
País: Belice
Fuente: LoveFM

Members of the New River Farmers Cooperatives stand to lose an entire crop of onions within the next month. Twelve farmers cultivated onions this year but after harvest, which began in March, nearly seven thousand fifty pound sacks remain in their hands. They have been unable to market their product because, according to one of the farmers, Max Hernandez the Belize Marketing and Development Cooperation has imported a large amount of onions saturating the market.

Max Hernandez – Onion farmer

“The center of this problem is that the Belize Marketing Board has imported onions knowing that it is time for production in Belize. At the same time Corozal was starting its harvest, Belize Marketing Board imported a big amount of onions that, I dare to say is still on the market. Chinese business men in Belize City and in Orange Walk still have onions from the Belize Marketing Board knowing that we have quality onions and at a good price. They, in this case do not want to help us.”

Hernandez and the other eleven farmers are all residents of San Carlos Village a small community located over thirty miles South of Orange Walk Town. These farmers say they have invested somewhere around one hundred seventy thousand dollars in twenty-three acres of land. With no available market, farmers have been forced to find a way to store the onion for as long as the crop can last. Over the past weeks onions can be seen on the verandas of many homes in the community, in makeshift storage houses, and onions have even been tucked in some houses. Two thousand sacks of onions have also been stored in storage houses in Shipyard. Another farmer, Cristino Perez says they may now have to settle with whatever they can obtain per sack, which normally sells for around fifty dollars each.

Cristino Perez – Onion farmer

“If I sell this onion at fifteen dollars per sack given the expenses I have incurred in fuel, chemical and all other expenses plus I owe the bank, I won’t have not even for the interest. Fifteen dollars per sack is a loss.”

Dalila Ical – Reporter

“You haven’t been able to find any market?”

Cristino Perez – Farmer “

For now, no market. We only have a few buyers who get two, three sacks for fifteen dollars.”

Dalila Ical – Reporter

“So if you have no other option you will have to sell everything, if you can, at fifteen dollars or less?”

Cristino Perez – Farmer

“Yes, at fifteen dollars or less or it will have to be thrown away.”

Dalila Ical – Reporter

“Do you, as a farmer have any hope to make any money from this year’s crop?”

 Cristino Perez – Farmer

“I feel that if onions got a little scarce, perhaps we would be able to make a little but if not, all hopes are gone. We have to start all over this year.”

Though they also plant other vegetables, the loss is a tremendous to the men since this was their biggest investment. The men say the only thing they gained from this year’s crop is a loan at the Saint Francis Xavier Credit Union in Corozal Town. While the San Carlos farmers wait out the rest of the month and hope for the best, the Belize Marketing Development Cooperation says they did not intentionally mean any harm. Managing Director, Roque Mai says that the cooperation simply followed a calendar as they do every year and the last shipment of onions from Holland arrived in the first week of February. Mai says that the problem was prompted by the early harvest of local onions in Corozal.

Roque Mai – Managing Director, BMDC

“We look at calendar year BMDC brings onions to substitute the market which is the local starts mid February. What happened this year is that we collided being the fact that the local onion came in too early for harvest and also it was being harvested green on the 15th January, one month before the actual harvest."

Dalila Ical - Reporter

Is there any communication between BMDC, the Corozal farmers and the Orange Walk farmers because Orange Walk farmers from San Marcus are telling me that they had an agreement with the Corozal farmers that Corozal farmers will harvest before them so that they ensure market for their produce and the allegation is that BMDC has imported nonetheless despite knowing that 7,000 sacks of onions will be produced from Orange Walk.

Roque Mai – Managing Director, BMDC

“We place our order in December before the year closes to have it here on February 1 so we have in mind that the farmers will start in mid February. When the onion arrives it would be finished by mid February so the local onion would come in exactly not running into trouble. We have approximately two containers of onions about 975 in Santa Elena and 950 bags or more in Orange Walk. Looking at that, we are selling very slow so we are not causing the problems. If we destroy the onions tomorrow, both containers, because the one in Orange Walk are sprouting, they are not consumable at all so it is just to be written off.”

Dalila Ical - Reporter

So you are saying BMDC is also losing.

Roque Mai – Managing Director, BMDC

“We are losing. This is a sample of an onion that came in this morning, 15 sacks. This is in a cold storage, this is a Holland onion and it is rotting and the one in Orange Walk we have about 975 bags in Orange Walk, all of them are sprouting, are green, it is not consumable, it is not selling. What we are doing, on a day to day basis if someone orders 15 sacks then we bring it in, if you check at the warehouse we do not have any onions in the warehouse, we have outlets. We are giving farmers a break to sell their onions and when we can sell our ones we will.”

Mai adds that the BMDC is writing off well over thirty thousand dollars worth of imported onions as a result of the present situation.

Palabras clave: cebolla, importaciones, Belice, "Belize Marketing Board"
Publicado por: LoveFM