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Issue 12

Featuring: All About Eggs; Bamboo; Screening & Pesticide Residue.

The Egg-citing, Incredible Edible Egg

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Table eggs are produced by hens of various breeds and the genetic composition of these hens is their design for the difference in color of the shell. Their genetics also contribute to the number of eggs laid in a year and the efficiency of egg production (number of eggs per pound of feed). The difference in color of white and brown eggs is due to the specific breed of hen. Hens with white feathers and white earlobes lay white eggs, whereas hens with red feathers and matching-colored earlobes lay brown eggs. The most common breeds of chickens used for egg-laying are the White Leghorn, the Rhode Island Red, and the New Hampshire. White Leghorn chickens are white and lay white…

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Mushrooms.

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Focus on a Kekchi Mushroom: Schizophyllum commune or Split Gill. In the last mushroom article, I gave a whirlwind tour of the mushrooms I had found in the Stann Creek and Toledo Districts. In this coming series of three articles I’ll describe some of the mushrooms eaten and used by the Mayans around here and give enough information on them so that all of you starved fungophiles out there have something new to try. The common name of this fungal fructification is Split Gill and its Latin name is Schizophyllum commune . However, I haven’t been able to find out the kekchi name for it and even though it has been pointed out to me by a number of locals,…

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To The Editor

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Responses to Redmond’s Letter to Editor, Issue 11: Dear Editor, I read your recent article in the Ag report with interest…You are correct that Belize needs more agriculture, but I believe that you are looking in the wrong place for knowledge and assistance. Why do most believe that an “expert” is someone from out of town or out of the country? Sustainable agriculture is the agriculture of the future where land is improved every year, not depleted. Large scale agriculture is not for Belize but small chemical free farms are. We do not have to spend big bucks to go to Brazil when the Springfield community south of Belmopan now produces large quantities of chemical free food using sustainable methods…

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Organic Production – Seeking The Perfect Yield In Belize.

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Key choices and decisions made by farmers long before the first seed is put into the ground can affect the bottom line of profit or loss. Such questions as ‘What soil preparation methods do I use?’ ‘Which crop is trending for the highest potential profit margin at harvest?’ ‘What is the cost of the input components to grow the selected crop?’ must be considered. With the cost of fuel in excess of $10/gallon, a farmer must make efficient use of fuel in building a soil bed for the future crop. A perfect soil bed will yield a better harvest, but to get that better harvest, fuel must be used. At what point is the fuel consumption going to achieve an…

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Beyond The Backyard – Pass The Grass Please

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On a recent tour of a friend’s organic garden he told me he was planting only what grows in abundance which would not take hours of work each day. For continual food supply this is a sound approach. In observing our environment we see that nature provides many species in abundance mainly as they have huge and constantly challenging jobs to achieve. The discovery of what they are capable of is exciting and being able to identify edible plants in the wild is important. To date human survival can largely be put down to the Gramineae Family. Apart from the amazing work they contribute to the protection of the habitats, they provide a veritable cornucopia of fabulous food. While many…

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Cacao In Belize – Things You Should Know

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Prior to the 1980’s, attempts were made to diversify the local economy in Southern Belize to cacao. German owned Kramer’s Estate exported 42,800 lbs in 1906 and 70, 000 lbs in 1970. In the 1980’s farmers started to commercialize cacao. Hershey Corporation developed a plantation of 500 acres of cacao which later became the exclusive market for Toledo’s cacao. In 1986 USAID began financial/technical Assistance; a group of 24 local cacao farmers formed the TCGA via assistance from the USAID’s Toledo Agriculture Marketing Project. In 1990 the price of Cacao fell to less than half its former value Bze$ 1.00 per lb. In 1991-1992 negotiations with Whole Earth Food Limited (Later Green and Black’s Organic and now Kraft Foods Ltd.)…

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Pesticide Residues Screening In Fruits And Vegetables

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The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) in collaboration with the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM), the Ministry of Agriculture and the Pesticides Control Board (PCB) is implementing a pilot project entitled: “Pesticide Residues Screening in Fruits and Vegetables”. The duration of the project is two years. Implementation started in January 2011 and is to be completed by December 2012. Belize-Based TTM funded the project in the amount of an estimated BZ$249,000.00. And provided lab equipment including a spectrophotometer, a refrigerator, a fume hood, reagents, and laboratory supplies and a monthly stipend for a volunteer to assist in laboratory analysis of the samples. The main objective of the project is to test produce prior to harvesting to ensure that once it goes…

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Campaign For The Proper Disposal Of Empty Pesticide Containers

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The inappropriate disposal of e mpty pesticide containers can result in health risks for humans and livestock as well as cause environmental pollution. Empty pesticide containers must be disposed of according to local best practice guidelines. Most pesticide containers are made of plastics although there are still some products sold in glass or metal containers. Disposal of empty pesticide containers is a two step process:- Ensure that the container is clean, by triple rinsing. Dispose of the clean triple-rinsed container in a way that follows local best practice guidelines. Rinsing of empty pesticide containers:- It is important to reduce the hazard of empty pesticide containers before disposal. This can be done by rinsing the empty containers. There are three types…

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Modernizing Agricultural Extension Services of Belize

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Under a consultancy assignment by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in 2010 Dr. Kalim Qamar conducted a study of Belize agriculture extension services. Dr. Qamar has done similar studies all over the world and provided many insights for the MAF to consider. A workshop to review and provide feedback for the final report was conducted on May 9 and 10 at the UB Central Farm. Dr. Qamar was assisted by colleague, Dr. John Pressing, who came from FAO in Rome to help present the findings and recommendations of the study. The group of 50 representatives from Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries staff, NGOs, Partners in Development, and extension officers from each district received encouraging remarks from…

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International Course on Common Bean Management in Goiania, Brazil

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Brazilian agricultural technology in the production of soybeans, wheat, corn, rice and beans is considered exemplar in South America as well as globally. Having promoted development based on sustainability, over the past 20 years, grain production in Brazil grew 127% with a 25% increase in sow area. The use of new technologies has also enabled the increase in livestock production and cultivation of fruits and vegetables in the country. Most of the gains came from productivity growth in rural Brazil, which began in the laboratories of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), founded in 1973. To help build tropical agriculture leadership in Brazil, Embrapa invested heavily in its staff training . Today, the institution has nearly 9000 employees, of which…

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