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Spices

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Spices are plant products used to flavor or preserve food. Some spices are also used in medicines, perfumes and cosmetics. The spice trade began thousands of years ago by Arab merchants who controlled it. Later, Europeans dominated the trade, taking advantage of the monsoon wind (wind patterns between continents due to seasonal temperature differences). In 1499, the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama landed on the Malabar Coast of Kerala, India (where the author was born and raised), in search of spices. At about the same time, Columbus, while trying to find a western route to reach India (also searching for spices), found the “New World”. The spice trade strongly influenced world history. Colonial powers controlled many spice growing regions of…

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From My Perch – The Chiquibul Forest Reserve – Ours to Keep

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In the last column, warnings were issued to all Belizeans about the dire situation in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, the incursion and theft of natural resources and the woeful lack of personnel and equipment to deal with the problem. In September 2014, a tourism policeman was murdered at Caracol in the middle of the day, witnessed by horrified tourists, tour guides, and a fellow officer. The police had confiscated horses the previous day from illegal loggers who returned to issue their revenge on the unsuspecting young Danny Conorquie, who gave his life in the battle for sovereignty of this great nation, Belize. The resulting outcry was immediate and agonizing. Finally, Belizeans woke up to the unpleasant fact that Belize has…

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Drought Relief for Corn and Forages – Is Zinc the Answer?

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Corn growers are aware perhaps more than most crop farmers about the value of supplying adequate zinc for the crop. Among other uses, zinc is known to be needed for moisture absorption in growing plants. That is, when you don’t have enough zinc, it requires more water to grow the same amount of yield because water is lost due to the inability of the plants to take it up in time. One of the farmers attending our introductory workshop on soil fertility admitted he never had much faith in soil testing to help determine his fertilizer program. But he and all his neighbors had a persistent problem. They all had cows, and every summer during July and August the grass…

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