Belize's most complete agricultural publication.

Featured/Issue 34

Beyond the Backyard Tomatillos…The Taste of Mexico

Beyond the Backyard Tomatillos…The Taste of Mexico By Jenny Wildman   I was horrified when I first heard that some of my favorite vegetables, potatoes, aubergines (eggplant), tomatoes, and all peppers are part of the extensive nightshade family, Solanaceae, most of which can be toxic to humans. As children we were taught to avoid the pernicious deadly nightshade (Bella Donna) and thinking of anything as mildly related was somewhat unnerving. This is the plant dwale that contains poisonous alkaloids responsible for witches flying, murder and mayhem, delirium and death. Yet it was historically an important ingredient in medicine and still today is used in some pharmaceuticals.   One branch of the nightshade family is Physalis which translated means bladder, as… Keep Reading

Featured/Issue 34

Ecological Farming

Ecological Farming By Taylor Walker   There is a lot of talk these days regarding global climate change, soil loss, and desertification. We as farmers, gardeners, and stewards of the earth can play a major role in slowing and even reversing these catastrophic trends. Thankfully there are many solutions at hand if we use thoughtful techniques and look to the natural environment for ideas and answers.   In nature plants do not grow only in one plane but grow in all dimensions. Most natural terrestrial ecosystems consist of many different species of plants and plant types.  Groundcovers, vines, herbs, shrubs, understory trees, canopy trees, and emergent canopy trees are all present in a tropical forest. As anyone who has farmed… Keep Reading

Issue 35

“FOLKS THIS AIN’T NORMAL” by Joel Salatin Book review by Chris Harris

If you ride around on a huge combine harvester, keep thousands of chickens in a mass feeding coop or spray chemicals all over big fields, this book shows alternative methods of farming for you. After all it is written by a man who describes himself as a Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic. Joel Salatin is one of the foremost advocates of ethical and responsible farming. He has traveled widely around the world, lecturing at universities and talking to farming groups. The book uses the American mass farming model to show the failings of corporate farming and food production. Salatin uses a lifetime of experience on his own farm in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia USA to point out and explain… Keep Reading

Issue 35

IICA Supports the Institutional Strengthening of the Pesticide Control Board

The Pesticide Control Board (PCB) is the main statutory body responsible for regulating the use and management of pesticides in Belize. There are currently 565 pesticide formulations registered for use in Belize and listed in the official register of pesticides, containing some 193+ active ingredients. Registration, surveillance, monitoring and enforcement of the responsible use and management of so many pesticides is no small task for the staff at PCB. Its importance is underscored considering that agriculture plays an important role in Belize’s economy, contributing almost 13% to GDP, and employing about 10% of the population at the end of 2015. Belize has increased its use of pesticides and other agro-chemicals over the years due to more intensification and commercial development… Keep Reading

Featured/Issue 33

Industrial Uses Of Hemp

A Short History of Cannabis Hemp Since ancient times, until this century, hemp was used throughout the world to provide food, fiber, paper, medicine, shelter and fuel. In the early 1900’s Henry Ford used fuel made from hemp to run the first cars, and believing that hemp would play an even larger role in the automobile industry, he built a car body made from hemp fiber that was stronger than steel, yet only a fraction of the weight (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srgE6Tzi3Lg).  Ford’s engineers found ways to extract methanol, charcoal, tar, pitch, ethyl acetate and creosote – all from hemp and all of which are fundamental ingredients used throughout industry. But since the prohibition of hemp in the 1930’s, these ingredients have… Keep Reading

Issue 33

From The Editor

Fruits and Vegetables in Belize’s Markets Tested for Pesticide Residues? Currently Belize has no regular testing system for pesticide residues of fruits and vegetables sold in our stores and markets. Belize law does not mandate any pesticides residue testing of our foods, so there is no way to declare that they are safe or not. Belize products sold for export must meet the demands of the importing country, usually including pesticide residue testing. Importers bringing produce into Belize however, do not need to have any pesticide residue testing done. Under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, a country cannot impose restrictions on imported goods which are not required for the same domestic goods. Thus, in order to mandate pesticide residue testing… Keep Reading

Issue 33

To The Editor

Dear Editor, Subject: Lack of thinking hinders ag development Agricultural development has a future. Scientists in Kenya at the International Centre of Inset Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) and Rothamsted Research, UK in collaboration with other partners developed a natural method for controlling the corn-borer moth. A ground-cover plant, silverleaf desmodium, dissolves moth eggs laid on it; planted in fields between rows of corn, desmodium gives off compounds that repel the stem borer moth. Its roots suppress weeds including striga, a serious parasitic weed of corn. Napier grass, planted at the edge of fields, attracts stem borers out of the field to lay their eggs on it instead of the corn. The sharp silica hairs and sticky exudates on the Napier… Keep Reading

Featured/Issue 33

Beyond The Backyard – Ghosts Of The Graveyard

They stand erect and tall as guardian soldiers, swords at the ready, ever on duty in our cemeteries. The dagger like plants of Draceanaafromontana and then Yucca were planted at the headstone or in place of one at unmarked graves to ward off evil and keep restless spirits from wandering. They are profoundly significant as a symbol of eternity and mourning in the cultural beliefs of tropical Africa. The tradition continued throughout the Americas and the Caribbean settlements, the Yucca becoming our sentinel. The name Yucca applies to more than 50 species that have mostly adapted to all types of terrain and share characteristics of appearance and chemistry. They are evergreens, drought tolerant, spread rapidly, fire adaptive, prefer full sun… Keep Reading

Issue 33

Belize’s First International Beekeeping Symposium

Beekeeping is an agroforest activity that protects the environment, contributes to food security through the pollination of crops, and represents an important, albeit underdeveloped, industry that could provide employment to many Belizeans. In time, beekeeping has the potential to become a source of foreign exchange through the exportation of honey and other hive products such as beeswax, propolis, pollen, bees and manufactured products such as soaps, creams and shampoos. On May 27th and 28th, 2016, the beekeeping community met at the Cayo Welcome Center in San Ignacio to address the potential of beekeeping in Belize and its present challenges. The two-day event was organized by Cayo Quality Honey Producers Cooperative (CQHPC). CQHPC is based in the Cayo District and was… Keep Reading

Issue 33

Optimizing Corn Yield With Nitro Xtend+S

By Edwin Gomez, Axel Hidalgo, Wilbert Ramclam, Eddie Friessen and Albert Reimer The increase in productivity corresponds to the increase of total dry matter as a result of nutrients absorption (Karlen et al, 1987). Furthermore, the adoption of best management practices for the use of fertilizers is necessary to increase and stabilize yields and promote agricultural sustainability (Ciampitti et al, 2007). With these important factors in mind we conducted trials to evaluate the effect of a new product called NITRO XTEND that inhibits the enzyme urease which is responsible for breaking down nitrogen into ammonium. A crop of corn yielding 10,688 pound per acre would need to absorb approximately 219, 42, and 42 pounds per acre of nitrogen (N), phosphorus… Keep Reading

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