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Onion Crisis in Belize

Ambergris Today went on a search around town on Wednesday, January 3, looking for onions. Onions, an essential ingredient for most dishes, will be scarce for quite a while in the entire country and the ones who will suffer more with this problem will be the restaurants – or those who enjoy preparing escabeche on a weekly basis.

The result of our search was pretty bad; out of all the fruit and vegetable shops we visited, only two places had onions on their shelves. And the worst part is that none was expecting a shipment any time soon. The price per pound of onion at these two shops was a whopping $3.50 per pound compared to the last price of $1.50.

Annually Belizeans consume 4.6 million pounds of onions. That’s a lot of onions, but lately there’s been an acute and persistent shortage. We first reported on it in December when the Marketing Board sent out a release assuring Belizeans that they had received a large shipment of onions from Mexico.

Harvesting of Belize’s onion crop begins at the end of January and it continues onto August. Belize grows about 3.1 million pounds of onions. The Marketing Board is solely authorized to import onions to meet the demand as and when local supplies are depleted. Reports indicate that the free flow of contraband have kept the supply of onions available for affordable prices in the north and west. Luckily we do not have to pay the $5 and $4.50 per pound of onion that residents of Belize City and Corozal have to pay at the moment.

Fruit shop on Black Coral St. is one of few with onions in stock

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