Preparations Underway for National Agriculture and Trade Show Print E-mail
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Thursday, 11 April 2013 00:00

Deputy PM Gaspar Vega and CEO Jose Alpuche tour showgrounds and work being done at the showgroundsPreparations are now underway for the yearly National Agriculture and Trade Show NATS, which will be held on May 3rd, 4th and 5th at the Agricultural Show Grounds in Belmopan. As part of the preparations and a five year plan, the Ministry of Agriculture has successfully sought assistance from both the Private Sector and Communities to assist with improving the infrastructure at the Show Grounds.

Input is coming from the Belize Telemedia Limited for the main entrance and ticketing booth of the Show Grounds. According to Rafael Marin, Chief Information System Officer at BTL, some sixty five thousand dollars are being spent on the main entrance in an effort to ‘energizing’ the agricultural show. The main entrance now has a conveniently placed side road for Show Ground visitors to disembark from buses; in an effort to relieve some traffic from the Hummingbird Highway.

A 22 feet tall multi-purpose center is now also being built at the NATS Grounds, which started about two weeks ago, to serve as the main stage at the Agriculture Show. When the building is completed, Ministry of Agriculture Officials say it is their intention for schools and youth groups in the area to use it at no cost. The pre-fabricated building is being constructed with the help of the Ministry of Works and is financed by the Government of Belize; with the canopy being built by Global Steel Solutions a Company based in Belmopan. (Global Steel Solutions specializes in the building of both small and large pre-fabricated steel structures.)

One of the main attractions at the Agricultural and Trade Show every year is the rodeo show. But the rodeo platform that was on the Show Grounds had been deemed unsafe. As a result, a concrete rodeo gallery is now being built, sponsored this time by Bowen and Bowen. The structure will have a plaza in front, so that spectators can have more visibility of the shows. Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Jose Alpuche, hopes that livestock producers would in the immediate future take the opportunity to have quarterly shows at the improved rodeo facility.

Communities are also doing their part to improve the Agriculture Show Grounds. In the early morning of this past Saturday, the food court designated area of the grounds were clean. But by mid-day a pre-fabricated food court had already taken shape; built by an all volunteer group from the Spanish Lookout Community. Chairman of the Cayo based Community, Norman Reimer, was present while the construction was taking place and he reports that the food court was being built out of some of the funds received from the Belize Natural Energy.

For this year, planners want an incident free and prosperous Agriculture Show with more farmer participation. Sub-divisions have been planned at the Show Grounds that will be alcohol free to make it safer for children and all as they become involved in the planned mechanical rides.

But the main objective of the Agriculture and Trade Show 2013 is to encourage farmers and others who want to learn more about the agriculture sector industries.

“…as the show continues next year, probably we will see more infrastructural development, new zoning areas and maybe more food courts,” says Eugene Waight, Chief Agriculture Officer who has participated in the planning of the 2013 Agriculture and Trade Show.

“We will try to encourage more and more farmers to come to the show, because [that] is what the show is all about, promoting agriculture, showcasing farmers, showcasing agriculture, showcasing what the Ministry does,” he said.

Thousands of Belizeans from around the country visit Belize’s main agricultural event every year at the entrance of the Nation’s Capital. For this year, the Ministry of Agriculture is hoping to have put in place the adequate buildings and spaces to handle the expected huge crowds.