Belize's most complete agricultural publication.

Issue 33

Belize Livestock Producers Association News

Belize is now proceeding with cattle sweep 4. Based on our good results indicating a healthy livestock population, and proposals at the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) we may qualify for some testing reductions. The OIE has drafted changes for the entire world, that, if accepted, would only require 3 tests for brucellosis under some conditions, rather than the currently required 5. Currently we must test 99.9% of our livestock, but we have applied to test only a representative percent of 22.7% of livestock for the fourth sweep. If those results are clean, they could be accepted and used to declare our official status. Throughout the country, it would then involve selected herds, identified into 6 risk areas: breeding… Keep Reading

Issue 33

Working Together To Reduce Predator Attacks On Livestock

Livestock production in Belize is common and increasing. Many farms and villages lie in close proximity to the forest, potentially putting their animals at risk of predator attack. Livestock predation is frustrating and economically damaging, particularly for small-scale farmers who may lose a substantial proportion of their herd if they suffer repeated attacks. Understanding how predators, such as jaguars, pumas and coyotes, use the forest and agricultural lands, and how livestock are managed within the landscape, is helping us to identify practical, cost-effective non-lethal methods to deter predators from attacking livestock. Panthera works in partnership with the Forest Department’s Wildlife Program and theUniversity of Belize’s Environmental Research Institute (UB-ERI). Our applied research combines ecological and social science to understand the… Keep Reading

Issue 33

Sustainable Harvest International (SHI)

SHI-Belize began its work teaching farmers in Toledo about organic gardening and agroforestry in March 1999 with only 3 staff members who were Agroforestry extensionists with agricultural backgrounds. The project included 40 – 45 families. Since 2005, when Nana Mensah became SHI-Belize Country Director, the organization greatly expanded in staff from 3 to 9, geographic scope to include Stann Creek and Cayo, number of farmers from 45 to 115, and project scope to include small animal husbandry and micro-business development. At the moment we are in the final stage of completing a project with 21 families in the village of Otoxha; the project was funded as a grant from the Australian government. Under this project we issued 21 sets of… Keep Reading

Issue 33

Sheep Projects In Belize

The Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM) in Belize, funded by International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF), signed an agreement with the Belize government in December 2015 to assist with a 3 year small ruminant project which will run until December 2018. The project is a joint project between Belize and TTM, whereby funds are granted to the host country. TTM will assist with management and Mr. Pin-Nan Lee, a small ruminant specialist is assigned to oversee the new Central Farm sheep breeding facility. The budget of the project is US$1.274M over 3 years, with US$350K provided by the Government of Belize. While the project was initially planned to include both sheep and goats, a decision was made to focus solely on… Keep Reading

Issue 33

Forest Fires – All Is Not Well In Belize

The rainy season has started; no longer the gloomy grey dome of smoke choking us and distressing tourists because the rains have cleared the air from the fires of the dry season. Incredibly extensive and costly fires have persistently been devastating the countryside and biodiversity year after year. Before Belize gained its independence fires were considered a very serious business. Extension officers of colonial Belize worked with farmers in the fields every day of the week and issued official fire-permits to farmers to burn their milpa clearings. It was mandatory that all cleared land have a 6-foot wide fire-pass around the entire perimeter. The extension officer of the area would ensure that the fire-pass was well done and up-to-date for… Keep Reading

Featured/Issue 33

Surinam Cherry

Surinam cherry bushes grow all over Belize; they have pumpkin-shaped fruits that are botanically berries, but resemble cherries. If you are not familiar with Surinam cherries, imagine classic bing cherries with eight ribs growing on beautiful glossy evergreen leaved bushes. The cherries/berries look like cherries, but do not taste like cherries. The taste of the Surinam cherry fruit when ripe is said to resemble fig, mango, green pepper, with undertones of balsam and apricot, and even a touch of pine-like resin and tobacco aftertaste. Before the fruits are ripe they are tart, acidic and bitter tasting. It is best to pick only the fruits which are dark red and readily fall into your hand. There is a rare variety of… Keep Reading

Issue 33

Blue Moon Over Big Falls

Chocolate lovers congregated for the gala event of the 10th Annual Cacao Festival, now being called the Chocolate Festival, on May 20, not quite the full flower moon evening (full moon was actually Saturday) but close enough to add magic to the magnificent setting around the pool and lush tropical gardens at Big Falls Lodge, Toledo. This year the exhibitors offering samples of their products and very informative discussion regarding their procedures and mission were: Xoco, an event sponsor who focuses on supplying high end quality cacao beans to chocolatiers worldwide and now farming in Belize. Cotton Tree, who makes chocolate exclusively from beans from the Toledo District. Each batch of chocolate is created from the beans of a single… Keep Reading

Featured/Issue 33

The Majestic Mango

Stately, massive mango trees are the glory of a tropical farm. No other fruit is anticipated with such eagerness; no other fruit tree is so abundant to the point of overwhelming when they bear well. The varieties are as different as apple varieties and each one may have its own loyal devotee. Grafted mango trees begin to bear from 2 to 3 years from planting and continue for many, many years. As I write, the view through one of the windows of our house is fully dominated by the foliage of a mango tree about 20 yards away; it may be 40 years old and is bearing again this year. It used to bear only a type of mango known… Keep Reading

Issue 33

Fertility From The Deep – Nature’s Perfect Nutrient Blend for the Farm – Written By Charles Walters

The hypothesis that the diversity and abundance of chemical elements contained in ocean water could provide “nature’s perfect nutrient blend for the farm” was tested within the context of innovative farming methods proposed and implemented by Dr. Maynard Murray in the mid-20th century. In his book, Mr. Walters describes the inspirational, scientific and practical evolution and implementation of Dr. Murray’s ideas and the experiments he conducted to revolutionize modern agriculture in terms of providing healthier food for an increasingly unhealthy human population. Dr. Murray had taken his medical training at the University of Cincinnati and spent a decade testing the art and science of his profession. While working many years in Boston hospitals, Dr. Murray became increasingly appalled by the… Keep Reading

Issue 33

Breakfast is Served! You Name The Dish.

What would you call a dish of green banana flour, seaweed, powdered milk, sugar and peanuts with water added and cooked for 15 minutes? That nutritious combination is being developed into a product at the Central Farm food processing test kitchen for the school feeding program. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forest, Fisheries, the Environment and Sustainable Development (MAFFESD) project, headed by Anna Howe, was started in July 2015 with the help and direction of a food specialist to find the combination of ingredients to (1) use local ingredients (2) make a tasty, nutritious breakfast food for the school feeding program at minimum cost, and (3) explore the marketability of such a product. Anna and her crew of 5 are testing… Keep Reading

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