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Changing Weather Patterns Cause Carrot Surplus, Impacts Local Farmers

Updated: May 25

Changing weather patterns have disrupted the planting and harvesting cycles for local carrots, resulting in a market oversupply. This shift has extended the local carrot season to nine months, up from the traditional six, impacting local farmers and prices.

William Can, head of vegetable production for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise (MAFSE), explained that unseasonal weather has caused simultaneous harvesting across districts. “For the past three years, we have seen the season extended; it’s coming earlier and also finishing later,” Can said.

The Ministry noted that a prolonged dry spell followed by unseasonal rains from June to December 2023 affected planting schedules. “Present production cycle overlaps are due to a prolonged dry spell and unseasonal rains from June to December 2023. These two factors have affected planting of carrots in late 2023 and early 2024. This has caused some districts to harvest at the same time, creating a temporary market oversupply,” the Ministry stated in a press release. “

This year in particular, the weather conditions were not favorable for planting,” Can added. He explained that late planting in Cayo coincided with the usual planting in the north, causing a saturation of local carrots on the market. Can highlighted that while consumers benefit from lower prices due to the increased availability, t h e Ministry acknowledges the need for future importation. However, they emphasize that such considerations are not imminent.

Climate change implications are also evident, as farmers around the world, including those in CARICOM and Central America, adapt to drier conditions by developing climate-resilient strains of carrots and adjusting their farming practices. These adaptations include using drought-resistant carrot varieties, implementing efficient irrigation systems, and adopting soil moisture conservation techniques to cope with erratic weather patterns.

In response to allegations made by the Leader of the Opposition, Moses “Shyne” Barrow, regarding the impact of imported carrots on local farmers, MAFSE clarified that no import licenses have been issued since November 2023. Barrow claimed small farmers are incurring losses due to an inability to sell their carrots, attributing this to a surplus of imported carrots.

The Ministry refuted these claims as “irresponsible, baseless, and libelous,” stating that surveillance by the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) confirmed only local carrots are currently on the market.

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