Belize's most complete agricultural publication.

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Issue 31

To The Editor

Dear Editor, My understanding of the recent evolution or revolution in agriculture in terms of crop selection and production methods is that since the beginning of the 20th century they have become almost entirely dependent on the use of non-sustainable methods and materials while nutritional quality has decreased. Generally, significant changes began occurring with the introduction of mechanized farm machinery and the wide spread use of synthetic fertilizers, especially nitrogen, during the first green revolution. The next readily recognizable phase included the introduction of a vast array of synthetic compounds designed to control animal, plant and microbial pests or conversely to alter the physiology of crops to suit marketing and consumer demands. Moving ahead to the present decade, the most… Keep Reading

Issue 31

MNRA Horticulture Center Vegetable Research and Demonstration

The Horticulture Demonstration and Training Center was established by the Republic of China – Taiwan TechnicalMission in the late 90’s and then transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture in 2012. The horticulture program is now a part of the Crop Research and Development Unit at the Research, Development and Innovation Center in Central Farm, Cayo District. The program is primarily involved in the evaluation, demonstration and training of open field vegetable and exotic fruit tree production.The Ministry of Agriculture annual work plan is developed in accordance with the National Agriculture and Food Policy of Belize – 2015 to 2030 which has as the main objective “to provide an environment that is conducive to increasing production and productivity, promoting investment, and… Keep Reading

Issue 31

Green Bananas – A Neglected Food

Next time you visit the market put some green bananas in your basket. This amazing but neglected food is the cheapest and tastiest starch source around. Green bananas used to be commonly eaten in Belize: boiled, fried or part of stews. Green bananas contain as many minerals, especially potassium and magnesium, vitamins and fibre as the ripe fruit. The current price is around 3lbs (8-10 fingers) for $1.00, cheaper than plantains and potatoes and having more flavor. Much of this fruit is thrown away as rejects yet is available for only the cost of transportation. Our culinary artists and home cooks should take a second look at this food apart from the “boil-up” where it is most commonly seen. I… Keep Reading

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Issue 31

High Density Planting In Orange Groves For Belize

Plagued with the dreaded Huanglongbing (HLB) formerly known as Citrus Greening, we must venture into unconventional production methods to increase yields. High density planting has been the norm in many citrus producing countries including Brazil and the Unites States (Florida and Texas). High density planting is the production of citrus with more trees per acre than the conventional number. In Belize, the conventional planting spacing is 15 feet in rows and 25 feet between rows which totals 116 trees per acre. Before venturing into high density planting, several important factors must be considered: the types of rootstocks and scions to be used, soil type, yield performance, nutritional demand of the rootstocks and spacing.  The dominant rootstocks used in Belize are… Keep Reading

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Featured/Issue 31

Trapping the Mischievous Palm Weevil to Prevent Red Ring Disease in Your Coconut Grove

In the last issue of the Belize Ag Report (issue # 29 pg 37) Forrest Tackitt wrote about Red Ring Disease in coconuts. The vector for this disease which affects coconut and African oil palms, with up to 80% mortality, is the palm weevil (Rynchophoruspalmarum). This large red snout beetle is native all the way from Mexico through South America and resides in some parts of the Caribbean as well. The nematode (Bursaphelenchus cocophilus) which is the direct cause of Red Ring Disease, is carried in the gut of this palm weevil. San Miguel learned a successful technique to trap this beetle vector from the staff of Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agricolas y Pecuarias (INIFAP) in Chetumal, Quintana… Keep Reading

Issue 31

Beekeeping in Belize Cayo Quality Honey Producers Cooperative

The first beekeepers in Belize were the ancient Maya. They kept stingless bees, Melipona beecheii, in hives made from hollowed out logs. The entrance hole was made midway between the two ends and the ends were sealed with clay. Honey was harvested one to three times a year: in March, April and in a good year, in December as well. Large apiaries existed in Corozal, Orange Walk and Cayo and honey was one of the chief exports of the Maya state of Chactumal in northern Belize. Beekeeping with stingless bees continued until the mid 20th century but today only a few hives remain and the population of wild stingless bees is threatened by development. Beekeeping with Apismelifera began in the… Keep Reading

Issue 31

Watershed Management: A Tool for Sustainable Development

As the population of Belize continues to grow the demand for use of the natural resources will continue to rise. Human beings are completely dependent on the environment for survival. The land produces the food we eat, the forests provide the water we drink and the shelter we need. It is an unending struggle to balance economic development with the protection of the environment, also known as sustainable development. In 1987 the World Commission on Environment and Development defined sustainable development as “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” It is not an end but rather a process for meeting human development goals while maintaining the ability… Keep Reading

Issue 31

Soils of Belize – The Southern Cayo and Stann Creek Districts

My last article left us on the limestone foothills of the Cayo District with its lower alluvial areas created by the Belize River. The southern flank of the George Price Highway is a karst (limestone based) landscape with many limestone hills starting to give way to granitic hills and mountains further south. Further east, to the coast, we begin to see deposits of granitic sand and the first occurrence of a true coastline with sandy beaches that extend down to the Placencia Peninsula. My last article left us on the limestone foothills of the Cayo District with its lower alluvial areas created by the Belize River. The southern flank of the George Price Highway is a karst (limestone based) landscape… Keep Reading

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Issue 31

BEL-CAR Updates – Changing Times Invite Changes to the Belize Commodity Market

After a less than normal corn harvest caused by the summer drought (see national loss estimates in Ag Briefs, pg, Bel-Car reports that corn inventories are still more than adequate for domestic needs, although leaving little export surplus. Several farmers then planned to plant during the fall, normally a bean-planting time. However, the overabundant fall rains prevented many from following through on that plan. Due to the long-lasting rains most had to revert to the normal beans winter cycle, as they have a shorter growing period than corn. Quite a bit of RK beans and BE (black eye) peas are in the fields now. Last year was a record bean crop, with high acreages and high yields. Belize exported twice… Keep Reading

Baled PET-Baler 2-Second Trial (1)
Issue 31

Waste Management in Belize

Our Mayan Mountains are a beautiful sight to behold, but if we are not careful we will have other mountains made out of waste material. Are you aware of the “mountains” of plastic floating in the Gulf of Mexico? Last estimates compare it to the size of Texas (30 times the size of Belize), and there is one in the Pacific that is twice that size. I admit that I am terrible at recycling; I burn my garbage, and, yes, that sometimes includes plastic, but it is time for a change. If all of us in Belize concentrate on recycling only the easiest items, paper, plastic, glass and aluminium, we would help keep our country clean and have a tremendous… Keep Reading

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