FINALLY! Belize begins to export cattle to Mexico

vlcsnap-2013-02-28-19h38m22s146For the past decade, Belize has been barred from exporting cattle to Mexico – this is because of the drawn out process of testing, screening and documentation that each head of cattle must undergo in order to meet Mexico’s standards for exportation. After several failed attempts to export cattle to Mexico, Belize has finally shipped 44 heads of cattle to its neighboring country. Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture, the Hon. Gaspar Vega spoke about this momentous milestone.

Hon. Gaspar Vega – Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture:
Yesterday we had a significant, historic milestone, by formally exporting 44 heads of cattle into Mexico.  We exported these cattle to Tabasco, Mexico, to be exact. It is the first of a few pilot exports that we will be doing, before the official export that should take place sometime next month.

A few years ago, Mexico suffered an outbreak of mad cow disease and foot and mouth disease. And as we mentioned, this forced them to put in place standards for live stock imports. Minister Vega explained what Belize is doing to ensure that its livestock are disease free, in order to comply with Mexico’s standards.

Hon. Gaspar Vega – Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture:
vlcsnap-2013-02-28-19h39m35s114As you may remember, sometime in July of last year, we started with the pilot project of a cattle sweep in Blue Creek, Orange Walk District, That is the first zone where we started testing cattle for tuberculosis and brucellosis. We also started for the first time a registry for the cattle in that zone.  What we’re doing is that we’re creating a registry where we will know from the birth of the animal to the expiry date.  That way if anything goes wrong with any animal, we would be able to trace that animal to the exact ranch or field or producer, wherever that animal came from.

The Minister says that the country’s economy, as well as farmers and shop keepers will benefit significantly from cattle exportation.

Hon. Gaspar Vega – Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture:
vlcsnap-2013-02-28-19h38m38s2Because once the producers realize that the market is there they will invest and reinvest in the industry. They will start to provide better quality, bigger quantities.  So we will be increasing our revenues or our foreign exchange to the country, but most importantly farmers will be getting more revenues, and in return the shop owners will be able to do more business.  It’s a snowball. Everybody benefits from an industry like this.  Moreover, I want to make mention that once we certify that we can export to Mexico, eventually we will be able to export to any other part of this world.

And what about you the consumer? Well you may feel a little pinch in your pockets.

Hon. Gaspar Vega – Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture:
vlcsnap-2013-02-28-19h38m09s244There’s validity to that concern, because we all know once the wholesale price goes up, the retail price will be affected.  However, I think the increase in price to the consumer should be very marginal, because it’s not a huge amount of money, the difference that the processor should be paying for the animals now.

For the next three years, the Government of Belize will partner with the European Union, the Mexican Government and the Livestock Producers to continue this initiative.

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