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To The Editor

in Issue 31 by

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 significant change in agriculture is the widespread use of genetically engineered or modified organisms.These include species that are consumed directly by humans and their domestic animals as well as non-edible species that provide construction materials or that somehow benefit the growth of consumable species as in alley cropping. The major driving force behind these changes in agricultural production methods has been the need to feed the similarly unsustainable increase in human population that co-occurred during this same time period.

Unfortunately overall agricultural production continues to increasingly depend on unsustainable inputs of chemicals and fossil fuels while also converting more native plant and animal communities into farm land. In the race to feed a hungry planet, inadequate scientific studies were conducted which could have warned us that the ubiquitous presence of GMOs in the human diet may turn out to be a slow poison for the ever-expanding human population they were designed to feed.

Given the current scientific understanding of the declining health of the biosphere,certainly due to more human activities than just harmful agricultural practices, it makes perfect sense to begin a worldwide shift to sustainable organic based agricultural production systems with more reliance on locally adapted and grown species. A continued and growing addiction to agrochemicals and the planting of existing GMOs will undoubtedly be disastrous to millions of people and probably have irreversible negative impacts on global diversity and the known and unknown essential ecosystem services they provide, such as clean air and water. However, until all the political dust clears over solving world population growth or conversely there is a horrendous inevitable Malthusian die-off of an unprecedented number of people, organic agricultural practices will continue to be the exception rather than the norm. Of course, during the unknown length of this transition period it behooves the organic farming community to be further developed and fine-tuned to local conditions. Therefore, the bottom line in my opinion is that at some point in the future some form of organic agriculture will be the norm and not the exception.

Dr. Stephen Zitzer


Dear Editor,

A recent incident at the San Ignacio market underscores the urgent need to monitor pesticide residue in vegetables offered for sale to the general public. On that particular day, some beautiful sweet peppers were on sale. However, they had a film of powdery material on them. A customer asked if the powdery material was poisonous. The farmer answered that it was not. But another client interjected – “It is not poisonous?” The farmer then answered, “Yes but just a little bit; kills but real slow.”

While the above may seem trivial matter, there is an urgent need to implement measures to ensure wholesome and safe food products on the domestic market by the relevant authorities. Should we not expect better? Is it too much to ask or expect?

Signed, Felix Tzul.


Dear Sir / Madam,

I am Natasha Duke of Trinidad & Tobago and am interested in purchasing large quantities of corn and peas from Belize.
What is the process that I must undergo? Is there a database of corn and peas farmers that I can access?
I appreciate all of the assistance that I can get in this regard.

Sincerely,
Natasha Duke


Beth,

Good afternoon. My name is Joe Kelley; I am with United Agricultural Cooperative, Inc. (a.k.a. United Ag).  We are a grain and cotton cooperative located along the Texas Gulf Coast between Houston and Corpus Christi, TX.  Our major crops are grain sorghum, yellow corn and cotton. Lesser crops include: soft red wheat and soybeans.

I am curious, does Belize import a sizable amount of U.S. Yellow Corn into the country?  I noticed on the ag prices sheet that it showed U.S. yellow corn.  Would you know of any importers or large end-users of U.S. yellow corn and/or grain sorghum?  The reason I ask is that it would be interesting to see if there are any trade opportunities; especially, two way trade with Belize and United Ag.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the matter.

Best regards,
Joe Kelley

 

 

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