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Ag Briefs

in Issue 30 by

Neal Kinsey will return to Belize to again deliver his Introductory Soil Fertility Course on February 8th, 9th ,10th, 2016 at UB Central Farm. There may be a soybean field day after the course. Details: see ad on pg 14 of this issue.

Second Annual Christmas Plant Sale to benefit the Belmopan Humane Society. Saturday December 5 –Blue Moon Restaurant @the roundabout in Bmp. 10am-4pm. For Sale: plants & cuttings, poinsettias, palm trees, Christmas decor. Enter the raffle to win a completely decorated tree ready to plug in and light up your home or business! For more info email

Bze Ag Report 26_Page_09_Image_0002The Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture (MNRA) has responded to the crop losses suffered due to the drought, by farmers in the West and North of Belize, and will supply small farmers with seed corn. Although much of the data is still being collated at press time, it appears that Cayo had an approximate loss in yields of 25%, and the northern districts suffered losses in the vicinity of 50%. Yields per acre of corn have been decreasing in both Cayo and the North since 2013.

The cattle judging at the 2015 Feria X’matkuil, near Merida, Yucatan, will be held between 13 Nov through 27 November. For more information on dates for specific breeds, go to


Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Minister has made a proposal to change land ownership policy in this Canadian province, following a survey which showed 87% of respondents did not support foreign ownership of farmland; 75% were also opposed to allowing pension plan/administrator ownership. Farmers were concerned that foreign and pension plan ownership might drive up rents and prices for Saskatchewan farmland. Also, all financing for farmland will have to be via a financial institution registered to do business in Canada or by a Canadian resident. This would preclude foreign ownership in the event of foreclosure. This still needs approval but is expected to pass and come into effect by early 2016. All land sales consummated prior to the enactment of the new legislation will not be affected.

Bze Ag Report 24_Page_15_Image_0008Mexico’s food exports (agriculture, livestock, fisheries and agro-industry) from Jan to July of 2015 were up 4.6%, creating a surplus in their food trade balance of 1,536 million dollars, as they also reduced imports by 9.62% for the same time period. Mexico’s organic sector is expanding at an 8% annual rate, with the European Union as the main market for organic exports. Almost half of the organic export is coffee, followed by herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, cacao and grapes. The states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Michoacan, Queretara and Guerrero are the largest producers of organic products.

Worms that eat styrofoam: A Beihang University professor and his doctoral student, and a Stanford University professor co-authored a study, just published in Environmental Science and Technology, showing that mealworms, the larval form of the darkling beetle, can digest Styrofoam and produce a biodegradable waste. Cockroaches and other insects can eat plastic, but they do not produce biodegraded waste. They also found that mealworms fed antibiotics were unable to degrade plastic. This has been hailed by some as one of the greatest environmental breakthroughs in the past 10 yrs. Another insect which has plastic degrading properties, is the waxworm, larvae of the Indian mealmoth.


19 of 28 European Union members seek opt-outs for all or part of their lands, from cultivation of Monsanto’s GM Maize MON 810, the only GMO crop commercially grown at this time in the EU. Requests are from: Austria, Belgium for Wallonia region, Britain for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany (except for research), Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia.


Bze Ag Report 15_Page_05_Image_0001In October the USDA gave the lowest Florida orange crop forecast in 52 yrs, down to 80 million 90-pound boxes. They expect a 17% drop from the 2014-2015 season which was 134 million 90-pound boxes.

Paraguay: Banana flour, a productive alternative

What do you do when the supply of bananas exceeds the demand and the price to the grower gets reduced too low to pay laborers in the harvest period? Look for alternative ways to industrialize the raw material! How about banana flour? The initiative to produce banana flour is still in its experimental stage in Paraguay. However, it has already yielded positive results because of the large profits of the product. It can be used in the cookie, candy, and ice cream industries and others. It also represents a great alternative for the segment that manufactures foods for people who are celiac as banana flour does not contain gluten.

The process for making banana flour is as follows: the green fruit is harvested and brought to the dryers, near the farms. There the raw material is received, both first class and second-class bananas (discarded bananas), and it is prepared in trays to enter a furnace.After about 30 hours, the bananas are fully dried and ready for milling. This work takes place in Asuncion, in an industry with an installed capacity of 30,000 kg per day (12 hours) capacity. Afterwards, the finished flour is packaged in the same facility and stored in a cool place free from humidity and heat until it is sold.

The project includes making use of the entire banana; 40% of the total weight of the fruit is in the shell, which can be used as an effective organic fertilizer for orchards.

Sabal’s, in Stann Creek District, makes plantain flour. It has an off-white color and a slightly sweet flavor that can be used in baked goods. It does not require storage in a cool place free from humidity though; it can be stored in glass or heavy plastic containers that have good lids or caps.




Latest from Issue 30

To The Editor

Dear Editor, Did you know that minimum wage in Mexico is close

Stormy Weather

Where were you late afternoon on 28 September? Do you know the
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