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Issue 05

Featuring: Ylang-Ylang; Non-Chemical Mosquito Control; The Impact Of Oil Palms & Rice Purification.

The Sun Shines For The Agriculture Sector In Belize

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Agriculture in Belize has an extraordinary potential and a great future. Belize agriculture is like a jewel unpolished with their sub-sectors growing and getting ready to reach new markets. The recent agreement between Belize and Mexico opened the market for live cattle, the shrimp from the aquaculture reached France, one of the most important markets in the world, commodities such as maize is going to be exported to Guatemala, the developing of an horticulture sector using high technology (greenhouses, irrigation and good IPM systems) could give the opportunity to this country to be the backyard of the Caribbean. There are more examples too numerous to mention. In general terms the conditions are in place to have a successful agriculture sector.…

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Increasing Citrus Production & Citrus Profits – Grove Management Is Key

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As any citrus grower knows, producing citrus in Belize is a costly venture. However, although grove inputs are expensive, growers can significantly increase their profits by increasing production: production costs are high mainly because average yields are low. Fruit processing costs are also high in Belize: this is partly because the factory does not have the volumes of fruit it needs to achieve maximum efficiency. Both grower and factory need more fruit to reduce costs and increase profits. This article presents data from the Citrus Research & Education Institute (Citrus Growers Association) that shows how growers can reduce costs (per box) by increasing production. The data also demonstrates how, if less than one quarter of citrus growers increase their production…

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Ylang Ylang

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Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata) has strong fragrant chartreuse/yellow droopy 3” to 5” flowers which produces an aromatic essential oil. The leaves are long, smooth and glossy. This tall, fast growing tree prefers full or partial sun and the acidic soils of the rainforest. The exotic sounding name Ylang-ylang is derived from the Tagalog language of the Philippines meaning “flower of flowers”. It is native to the Philippines and Indonesia and can now be found growing throughout Belize. The essential oil of ylang-ylang is obtained through steam distillation of its flowers and is a major ingredient in the production of most exotic and expensive perfumes. It is used in aromatherapy and recommended for anxiety, depression, insomnia, treating high blood pressure and skin…

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From The Editor

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As we end the year, upbeat agricultural news has continued to flow, with the GOB and the private sector working together in harmony as never before. The strongest example of this new joined effort is the fact that each has realized the need for the other to move forward in export marketing. Export markets have developed and expanded, and agriculture seems more in the limelight here at home. One of the limiting obstacles agrarians face in Belize is the lack of affordable capital. Hopes had been for procedures to be in place already for applications for CDF (CARICOM Development Fund) monies, as the clock is turning already for phase 1, a 4-year cycle focusing on ‘disadvantaged’ countries (Sept 09-Dec 2013).…

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Farm Neighbors In Action

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A very heartwarming experience was carried out at Kitty Bank near Saturday Creek recently. The Ben Penner family of Spanish Lookout has been going through some very heavy medical pressure the last couple of years. One member is fighting renal failure and the expense has been enormous for dialysis and other medical costs both local and foreign. A local church pastor got an idea of volunteer support and Harvest Day happened at Kitty Bank. Thirteen John Deer combines varying from 6020’s, 7720’s and 9500’s gathered to harvest 200 acres of corn in six hours. This Pioneer variety of 30F35 yielded right at 6000 pounds per acre (an above average yield). Truckers and grain haulers brought their equipment to the field…

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Organic Production – How To Raise Whiteflies & Nitrogen

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If I wrote this article on how to raise Whiteflies, the article would be very short, so I will be more long winded with the ways to combat the Whitefly. Whiteflies are a continuous threat to the crops of Belize, especially vegetable production. The fly is most damaging to the vegetables due to being a carrier host of viruses. When a fly bites an infected plant, and then moves on to bite a healthy plant, the virus is introduced. The Tomato Yellow Leaf-Curl Begomovirus is one of the prevalent issues with growing Tomatoes in Belize. The fly began to develop immunity to most commercial insecticides in the 1980’s, and has required a broad spectrum approach to combating the pest. Millions…

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Rice Purification In Belize

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Rice is the second most important cereal grain for majority of the world’s population and is cultivated primarily in the tropics and subtropics. It is also hypoallergenic and versatile because of the relatively mild flavor. As the world population increases it creates a demand on basic foodstuffs such as rice. Since the rice stocks are being depleted faster than it can be replenished the cost of rice has been on a sharp incline since 2007 as dictates the command ofsupply and demand (FAO). The Government of Belize is armed with the purpose of increasing food security in Belize and is currently sustained in rice. A quality rice seed is the basis of productive rice plants which can not only satisfy…

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Non-Chemical Mosquito Control

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Mosquitoes and the diseases they carry, such as malaria and dengue fever, are a serious concern in Belize. The wet season is particularly troublesome when mosquito breeding sites are far more abundant. When mosquito biting rates and incidents of diseases are high, spray trucks belch out plumes of malathion and other insecticides over the urban landscape. Sometimes this strategy may be effective, but many other insects, including mosquito predators and honey bees, are also killed by these chemicals. Besides that, people throughout towns and villages where spraying is conducted are exposed to pesticides and that can impose health consequences. However, there is an alternative first choice control strategy that involves targeting mosquito larvae and does not rely on chemicals. Non-chemical…

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Ask Rubber Boots

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Dear R.B., I have a helpful hint for your readers. A couple of months ago I received a really bad burn on my leg. I used man-made remedies to try to heal it, but it was taking a long time for it to heal. My friend told me to try unrefined honey, which I did. Once I started using the honey – it was incredible how fast it works. Just spreading over the wound every day you will see amazing results. Bigga Bullet Tree Falls Hi Bigga, Honey has many marvelous qualities besides its tantalizing taste. Bacteria cannot live in itshigh concentrated sugar, and, because it is hygroscopic, it draws liquid out of the wound (so the infection moves out…

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Corn Production Considerations

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Belize is a great place to grow corn. The temperatures are 80 degrees or higher every day and we get 80 to 90 inches of annual rainfall. Our acres are increasing and through better farming practices and more adaptable genetics, our yields are increasing. Most corn farmers feel that we can double our production to 2,000,000 bags in maybe 5 years if: We can export. We can find credit at some side of 8%. We get some tax break on fuels and other inputs. (Cane farmers get a fuel tax break- Why not us?) We have an abundance of black clays and minimum amounts of brown sandy loams. Farmers have to learn to like and deal with black clay soils,…

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