The Agriculture show has always been one of the biggest and most prosperous events of the year in Belize. Belizeans from every corner of the country come to the Belmopan Show Grounds in the capital city for this three day weekend experience. This annual event is held in May and is officially known as the National Agriculture and Trade Show however most Belizeans refer to it as the Agric Show. The Agriculture show is a time when farmers and other Belizean producers get the opportunity to showcase their products and are applauded for all their hard work and dedication.
Since its inception in 1970, farmers have been rewarded for showcasing their livestock and crops while other Belizean entrepreneurs have been encouraged to display their products such as handmade crafts, arts, potteries, plants, wines, herbal drinks, food and much more. The agriculture show has grown drastically over the years and has expanded into an international show. Each year, the committees make an effort to invite participants from neighboring countries, which contributes to a grandeur event. The show now entails other Commercial and Industrial displays. Some household names include Western Diaries, Marie Sharp, Quality Poultry, Caribbean Poultry, Pine Lumber, Wood Depot, amongst many others. Farm machinery and a variety of technological devices are also in abundance at the agriculture show grounds; a case of old versus new is catered to people from all walks of life. The main objective of the show is to encourage Belizean farmers to promote agriculture in our country to encourage and attract youths to venture into this field.
In addition to hosting an abundance of affordable and unusual products, this Belizean event has always been marked for several major highlights. The official opening ceremonies starts off the weekend on Friday with the selection of “Miss Agriculture”, followed by a dance with local and international musical entertainment. Wholesalers and manufacturers make an effort to keep the giveaways going throughout the weekend to attract the public to their booths, a deed that is necessary since the booths are judged based on categories. The farmer(s) selected for title of Farmer(s) of the Year is also recognized at the show and in some cases even have on display their crops and livestock.
The Agriculture Show offers entertainment for everyone thus there are mechanical rides and horse back riding for the kids and a motocross show and tractor operation contest which has always been a favorite of the guys. The ultimate show and one of my personal favorites is the rodeo.
As a child, I recall my dad taking us to see the rodeo, it made such an impression that it has become one of my favorite attractions and its one of the reasons why I would attend the show each year. This year, the rodeo platform has been re-built into a concrete rodeo gallery. The structure will have a plaza in front to ensure that the audience has a clearer view of the shows. It’s a wonderful change that I can’t wait to see how different this experience will be.
In addition to the rodeo gallery upgrade, there have been some major enhancements underway at the agriculture show grounds. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Agriculture sought assistance from the private sectors and neighboring communities to improve the infrastructure at the show grounds inBelmopan. From the funds gathered, the Ministry has constructed a much needed ticketing booth and a side road for the agriculture show ground visitors to disembark from vehicles, mainly buses. This was done particularly to alleviate traffic from the highway. They also completed, a 22 feet tall multi-purpose centre which will serve as the main stage for this year’s Agriculture show. This centre will be opened for use to the community, including students at no cost. As a bonus, the Spanish Lookout community also volunteered their services to clean and reshape the food court area in preparation for this upcoming occasion. It is a much needed facelift that visitors will greatly appreciate.
This year the dates are set for May 3-5 2013 under the theme “Stimulating Prosperity in Agriculture and Food Production through renewed Public-Private Partnership”. I’m pleased to know that the Agriculture Show committee always has the best interest of the Belizean people at heart. The Agriculture Show is an excellent way for our Belizean farmers to exhibit what we can produce from our fertile soil and attract foreign investors in agriculture to Belize.