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Planting & Harvesting Beans – The Mayan Way

in Issue 31 by

Beans have always been a staple for the Mayas. They have a large variety of beans: Boloc’ che, Tzama (red & black) variety, Xchalaatbu-ul, Xme-hen bu-ul, and Xpascuabu-ul. They eat beans almost daily with rice and tortillas. Their diet is also complemented with cowpeas which are planted during the months of June and July to be eaten starting in late October for the observance of All Saints Day or Finados. Local lima beans are also cultivated for the preparation of the special Mayan dish called Xtoc sel. Many of the Mayan beans are large with a thicker skin and have much more “bean” pulp than the typical black or red beans grown in Belize. (See issue 15, page 18 of…

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BEL-CAR Update Blackeye Peas (BE’s)

in Issue 29 by

Red Kidney Beans are now a part of the coop program at BEL- CAR along with corn and blackeye peas. That means the farmers who grow RK’s receive equitable payments based on the prices BEL-CAR receives when they sell them. That will take care of the problems that arise when price fluctuations due to supply/demand variances in the market place result in different prices paid to farmers whose harvests and deliveries vary during the season. Blackeye peas are graded according to their quality which is determined by detailed export standards, including appearance (color, spots/markings caused by insects), moisture, and presence of non-BE beans, splits or foreign material, e.g., stones. Weather can adversely affect bean quality. For example, weather that is…

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Photo-Periodic Mayan Bean Plants

in Issue 15 by

The Mayan tradition of saving beans from each year’s harvest for planting the following season includes some that are photo-periodic plants, I.e., light sensitive to either short days or long days. The beans Felix Tzul plants in late September blossom during the time of year when we have short days – end of the year. As a matter of fact, he says they blossom in late November or December almost regardless of when they are planted. So if planted in November, they still flower before the end of the year, but the harvest is scanty because of a very short vegetative development period before blossom initiates. Cultivars planted in August have a prolonged vegetative development period; the vines are well-developed…

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International Course on Common Bean Management in Goiania, Brazil

in Issue 12 by

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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in Issue 07 by

So who is the world’s 4th largest exporter of Black Eye Beans?…did you say Belize? If so you are right! (The other 3 are Peru, Madagascar & Myanmar.) In quality, Belize is ranked 2nd behind only Peru. So who are the folks growing and exporting all these beans? None other than BEL-CAR Export & Import Company Ltd., headquartered in Spanish Lookout, Cayo District. Formed in 2000 as a cooperative, BEL-CAR has close to 200 members, about 130 of them active (growing ). Most members are from the Spanish Lookout Mennonite Colony, with a few from Hillbank. Black Eye Beans are the#1 export for BEL-CAR, and the #2 is Light Red Kidney Beans. Volume wise, 90% of BEL-CAR’s beans are Black…

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