#459937 - 03/11/13 01:04 PM
Today's Belize News: March 11, 2013
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Specials and Events
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The March-April 2013 issue of The BELIZE AG REPORT is online HERE
This Issue's Stories:
- FRUIT-FULL: SOLAR DRIED
FRUITS OF BELIZE: By Jack Nightingale
organic, high quality,
solar-dried fruits, is a
business project designed
to bring sustainable
futures to the indigenous
and native populations
of the Central American
and Caribbean region.
Located in southern
Belize, Fruit-Full works
with Sustainable Harvest International (Belize) and Plenty Belize,
non-governmental organizations associated with agriculture,
through trainings and field work.
The products of Fruit-Full are the maximum health and quality
tropical fruits of the region, dehydrated in solar dryers and full of
nutrition. Our motto, “nothing added but the sun” holds for all fruits
except mammee, cashew fruit and star fruit (carambola), which
have honey added because we have found it enhances the finished
product. Drying fruit is labor intensive and quality handling is the
watchword. All participants, from farmers through processors and
shippers, are aware of the need for quality.
There are two known solar drying techniques: direct drying and
indirect drying. The most technical aspects are with indirect drying
methods. The equipment can be expensive to build and require
motor driven fans to move the heated air. Direct drying is simple
technology but the box design is important. Fruit-Full employs
direct drying technology and has developed an industrial form of
direct dryer using angle iron, plywood or cement board, table cloth
plastic and insect screen for fruit support. Our design allows for local
maintenance at relatively low cost which is another reason we have
chosen direct drying.
- To THE EDITOR: Thank you for the opportunity to express an opinion in your
I have had the honor and great privilege to work for decades with
traditional healers of Belize to record and preserve their ancient
systems of medicine. With Dr. Michael Balick of the New York
Botanical Garden, we have published several books on the subject.
This year, Oxford University Press will publish The Ethnobotany of
Belize, a 700 page tome that represents our work with man and the
land in Belize. I have just finished reading a report on the website
of The Organic Consumers Association of America entitled, GMO
Myths and Truths. As an organic farmer in Belize since 1976, I am
concerned that the safety and integrity of our food supply is on
the brink of a dangerous and major shift. Monsanto’s genetically
modified (GM) crops are promoted on the basis of a range of farreaching
claims from the GM crop industry and its supporters.
They say that GM crops:
●● Are an extension of natural breeding and do not pose different
risks from naturally bred crops
●● Are safe to eat and can be more nutritious than naturally bred
●● Are strictly regulated for safety
- To THE EDITOR: While the GM issue is on the front burner here in Belize, a related
issue is that of the efficacy of glyphosate as an herbicide. It comes
as a package deal with glyphosate-resistant GM crops. In other
words, use of glyphosate-resistant GM seed requires the farmer to
also use glyphosate with the GM crop or there is no advantage to
the genetic modification. Weeds resistant to it in North America,
that great agricultural laboratory Belizeans can learn from, are
increasing to where, according to Kent Fraser of Stratus Inc.,
an ag research organization (www.stratusresearch.com/blog07.
htm), about half of America’s farmers have now found glyphosate
resistant weeds on their farm in 2012, up from 34% of farmers in
2011. In the warmer southern states, the incidence is higher; it is
92% in Georgia. The article includes the following chart showing
the rapid loss of effectiveness of glyphosate as an herbicide.
Any serious deliberation about the introduction of glyphosateresistant
genetically-modified crops in Belize should adequately
- and squarely - address these facts along with the equally serious
problem of its toxicity.
- GMO TECHNOLOGY –
FEAR OR FUTURE?: By Hugh O’Brien
Belize Grain Growers Association
“Cómo me arrepiento
no haberme impuesto
y haber dicho no a
tanta novelería” Rafael
Correa, President of
Ecuador, September 1st,
“How do I
regret not insisting and instead saying no to such a novel
technology?” These are the words of Ecuadorian President,
Rafael Correa, as he delivered his weekly Saturday address to
the nation on September 1st, 2012. During his stunning speech,
President Correa publicly apologized, saying ‘it was an error’
to have declared “Ecuador as a country free of transgenics in the
Constitution”. President Correa strongly opposed what he called
opposition to genetic engineering by “fundamentalists who are
afraid of the truth”.
Following in the footsteps of the Ecuadoran President,
Mark Lynas, the environmentalist and award-winning science
author, began 2013 by publicly apologized “for having spent
several years ripping up GM crops” and for his role in
helping to spearhead the anti-GMO movement in the 1990s.
Mark Lynas was very practical as he delivered his famous speech
at an Oxfam conference on January 3rd, 2013 – “You are more
likely to get hit by an asteroid than get hurt by GM food. In fact,
the idea of being totally anti-GMO is no longer
- Energetic Agriculture & Pests
Farming Without Chemicals: When Albert Einstein’s E = mc2 burst on the world scene over
eight decades ago, mankind’s knowledge of God’s universe
suddenly exploded, especially after he met Frank LaMotte and
Carey Reams. The trio worked out how to translate some of
the secrets of God’s universe into formulas suitable for farm
applications – taking apart the atom and putting it back together
in farming for mankind’s sustenance.
The lofty Platonic abstractions given by Einstein to Reams and
LaMotte later became Dr. Carey Reams “Biological Theory of
Ionization”. But for Reams’ theory to be helpful to farmers, they
need instruments to measure what happens in the soil and plant.
This is where Frank LaMotte, the chemist, comes in; today the
LaMotte agriculture test kits and instruments (www.lamotte.
com) are still the most reliable because they measure what
nutrients in the soil are readily available to the roots of the plant,
not just what is in the soil.
Agricultural Schools of Thought
Today agriculture is divided into three different schools of
thought: the Organic Farming (Sir Albert Howard, and Lady
Eve Balfour); Conventional Agriculture (petrochemicals/bioengineering
companies and USA land-grant universities - the
dominant worldview); and Energetic Agriculture (Dr. Carey
Reams & Emeritus Professor Dr. William A. Albrecht).
- ‘Apples’ of Belize Series
Sugar Apple or Custard Apple: By Mary Susan Loan of Cristo Rey Village
The Sugar apple is another tropical fruit that is commonly known
as an apple, but the tree and fruit are not botanically members of
the apple family. The Sugar apple’s botanical name is Annona
squamosal. It is the most widely grown member of the over twothousand
member Annonaceae family. Like most tropical fruits,
different cultures have many names for this frut including, custard
apple, vid anon de azocar, granadilla, saramoyo, pinyon, sakya,
Buah nana. In India it is known as sita fruit, literally translated as
“fruit with so many seeds the monkeys will not eat them”. Sugar
apples are close cousins to the cherimoya and atemoya, which is
a hybrid of the Sugar apple and the cherimoya.
This delightful variety of annona tree is a semi-evergreen shrub
or small tree which grows to be approximately ten to twenty feet
tall, the trunk between ten and fourteen inches in diameter. The
slender-to-wide dull green leaves grow to be approximately six
to eight inches long. The Sugar apple tree usually flowers in May
with tight buds making it a challenge for the bees to pollinate.
Hand pollination with a natural fiber brush helps to increase
yield. Apples generally fruit in June through early October. The
twigs of the tree are known to grow in a zig-zag manner. Sugar
apples produce about fifty to hundred fruits per tree in as little as
two to three years, making the tree a good choice for the family
‘back yard’ garden. The tree also makes an excellent ornamental
tree with its rounded canopy and long elegant branches.
- BEYOND THE BACKYARD,
PALMISTRY: By Jenny Wildman
The palm: its leaf is like the spread
of a hand. I thought I would talk
about palms as Palm Sunday is
coming up marking the beginning
of the Holy week of Easter. As Jesus
entered Jerusalem palms were
scattered by the faithful across
his path as a sign of respect. The
palm has been incorporated into
the services of the Christian faith
where processions involve the
waving of palm branches and small
crosses are made from the fronds.
In 1995 Columbia banned this practice as the palm species was
threatened by possible extinction due to over harvesting. Indeed
there has been much controversy relating to the over cutting and
destruction of palms in the rainforest for the production of heart
of palm and palm oil. Now also the Bay leaf is threatened as there
is a much greater demand for thatch with the growth of tourist
facilities aimed at using it to create ambience in design.
Recently I needed to remove a 5 foot coconut tree from my
driveway; so I decided to cut it and eat it. The edible part is about
2 to 3 feet of delicious white flesh which I used as fresh heart of
palm salad, canned some in brine and cooked the rest with yellow
ginger like cohune cabbage. None of the tree was wasted; the
leaves were used for shade in the garden and the leftover parts as
- A VISIT TO IX CHEL FARM’S
ORGANIC GARDEN: By Beth
H i p p o c r a t e s ’
maxim “Let food be
your medicine and
your medicine be
your food” is evident in the garden of Drs. Rosita Arvigo and
Greg Shropshire at Ix Chel Farm. They shared some of their
successful organic methods and philosophy with The Belize Ag
Report during a visit to their Western Cayo District farm. Two
gardens of approximately 18’ x 18’ next to their home provide
herbs used in their medical practice, table food for themselves
and last year over 1000 salads for participants of seminars held
“The sun is the worst thing and the best thing,” spouts Rosita,
claiming that “the sun supplies 96% of the energy to transform
nutrients” for plants. But if the soil isn’t protected from the sun’s
direct rays its ecology will be destroyed. Great attention is given
to placement in either sun or shade, with some such as chayote
requiring sun for the vines but the dampness provided by partial
shade at ground level. Finding that level of sun exposure favored
by each plant is essential. About 6 types of lettuces are grown in
partial shade, none of them head lettuces, which are problematic
due to moisture accumulation in the dense heads, promoting
fungus. Also avoided for the same reason is head cabbage;
instead, collards, kale, bok choy and other greens flourish. One of
their favorites eaten daily is amaranth, locally known as calaloo.
Although recognizing the virtues of chaya, (which requires boiling
to remove toxins) they find amaranth much simpler to prepare.
- New John Deere 8285R Tractor Arrives
in Spanish Lookout: By Beth Roberson & Dottie Feucht
One of the larger rubber tire tractors produced by John
Deere was custom ordered and imported to Belize recently by
Westrac Ltd. The 8285R model (8= the series, 285 = hp, R=
premium package), manufactured in Waterloo, Iowa, U.S.A.
arrived via Hyde’s Shipping for the Spanish Lookout buyer.
The 8R series is John Deere’s largest series of unarticulated
tractors. These range between 235 and 360 horsepower,
and the newly arrived intelligent tractor sits midway in that
line-up with 285 horse power. The model boasts dual front
and rear wheels, along with a computerized ILS front axle,
and weighs over 30,000 lbs. The ability to run on Infinitely
Variable Transmission (IVT), in which precise engine and
ground speed are monitored and controlled, economizes fuel
consumption. In North America this tractor comes with a
Tier 4 engine, which burns low sulphur diesel, but since Belize
does not have L.S. Diesel, the machine was custom ordered
with a Tier 2 engine. Another benefit of a Tier 2 engine,
instead of Tier 4, is minimizing the use of costly emission
filters and sensors. Depending on the particular chore, this
8285R requires between 7 and 11 gallons of fuel per hour.
The overall machine spans 10.5’ high, by 13’ wide by 20’ long
and can till or plant a width of 26-34 feet, which is equivalent
to approximately 12 rows of corn at the spacing of 30’’. It can
till an average of 20 acres/hour. The 8R Series also features
special high-intensity discharge lighting (HID), which
illuminates the field a full 360 degrees for night time use. The
70 square feet of glass in the windshield and side windows
make it easy to view operations from the cab. A special air
- Food Safety Standards for Export
to the U.S.: Belize foods exports must meet the U.S.
food safety standards under the Food Safety
Modernization Act (FSMA), which was signed into law by President
Obama on January 4th 2011. According to recent data from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approximately 48
million people in the U.S. get sick (1 in 6 Americans), 128,000
are hospitalized and 3000 die each year from food-borne disease
illness. The FSMA strengthens the food safety system, enabling the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to better protect public
health by giving FDA new tools and authorities to make certain
imported foods meet the same safety standards as foods produced
in the U.S.
The following are among FDA’s key new import authorities and
●● Importer accountability: For the first time, importers have
an explicit responsibility to verify that their foreign suppliers
have adequate preventive controls in place to ensure that the
food they produce is safe. (Final regulation and guidance were
due 1 year following enactment.)
●● Third party certification: The FSMA establishes a program
through which qualified third parties can certify that foreign
food facilities comply with U.S. food safety standards. This
certification may be used to facilitate the entry of imports.
(Establishment of a system for FDA to recognize accreditation
bodies is due 2 years after enactment.)
- Market Activity at BEL-CAR: By Dottie Feucht and Beth Roberson
As the leading container exporter from Belize City, Bel-Car is
working hard to fill its orders for red kidney (RK) beans and
black-eyed peas. The RK bean market is good this year and Bel-
Car is shipping them out as fast as they are being delivered to
them by the farmers, 4 – 5 shipping containers per week bound
for Jamaica. The U.S. also ships RKs to Jamaica but there are
three factors currently favoring Belize (1) beans from Belize are
not subject to the 40% duty the importers have to pay for U.S.
beans because of the CARICOM Free Trade Agreement, (2) the
drought in the U.S. reduced their yield considerably and (3) the
Jamaican bins are understocked. Because of farm subsidies in
the U.S. their exporters can sell beans at a lower price. When
Belize does not have enough beans for the Jamaican demand,
the Jamaican importers can obtain a waiver for the duty on U.S.
beans and fill their bins. Bel-Car is currently able to pay their
supplying farmers $1.55 vs. $1 per pound as in the past. Last
year Bel-Car shipped RKs to the U.S. because they did not have
enough to meet their domestic market demand. Even though
10 thousand acres of RKs are under cultivation in Orange Walk
and Corozal Districts, their yields this year are reduced because
of the drought they had in November and December. In Cayo
the season started out dry but early rains helped the crops but
the heavy rains later on damaged some of the crops; so the yield
in Cayo is also not a record-breaker.
The soil in northern Belize is not as good for growing corn as in
Cayo, where this past season’s average yield was 4,300 pounds
- Agriculture Prices at a Glance- $$$$$: Dear Ag Readers: We have had a swinging time - things are moving. The first cattle have moved legally to Mexico.Even before that the very best 1000 & up steers were selling for 1.70 -1.80 per lb.
Quality , heavy weights and a 55% - 56% dressed weight is the goal. Lesser size and quality brings lesser price.We had the driest December then a wet January and now in late February we need
some rain. Corn and milo prices are sluggish; chicken and pigs are stronger. Farming is where you trade investment capital, high interest, unpredictable weather and uncertain markets to form
a home run . It seldom happens; the uncertainty of it all makes a farmer get close to the soil and talk to the creator . With God all things are possible. All the best, John Carr
- National Barrel Horse Association
(NBHA) Belize: By Marjie Olson
March, 2012, was the inaugural NBHA
Belize Race, held at the Belize Equestrian
Academy. Excellent ground was brought in to prepare the arena,
Farm Tek pro timers were purchased, fees were paid to the U.S.,
banners, barrels and flags were ready. And the season began.
We had an amazing year! Running as a professional Barrel Racing
Association that is known worldwide, and following the rules and
regulations, created an atmosphere of excellent sportsmanship
and professionalism. With the help of Banana Bank and Running
W hauling in horses most weekends, our average show hosted 24
entries in the Open and usually 18-20 in Youth. For Belize, that’s
a great number of entries and they all competed for NBHA GIST
champion buckles. After a competitive season of 9 races we came
to the last run and it was an exciting final Open and Youth race as
three buckles were on the line. Two held and we had a tie; it was
a perfect way to end the first season.
We were seldom rained on, seldom over heated, no arguments, no
belligerent people…just good sportsmanship, great competitors
and spectators and we were blessed with good weather and safety
of horses and riders.
I was also blessed with Vicki Coverdale and Maruja Vargas for
my announcer and times keeper, respectively, as well as the other
duties they did. I am looking for another volunteer as Vicki has
moved to colder pastures. Seriously…we need more help and
people to offer to set barrels, keep times, announce, take entries,
and pay attention for judgment calls. It’s a busy day and I have to
have help. SO please, volunteer.
- Chasing Belize Coconut Industry: The benefits of coconut are so high that worldwide demand
exceeds production. According to Manuel Trujillo, National
Crops Coordinator, at Central Farm, current production levels in
Belize do not meet the local demand in Belize for coconut products
let alone the vast export market. In addition to the increasing
regional demand for green coconut water, recent developments
in the world market have improved prospects for other higher
value coconut products such as virgin coconut oil, coconut milk
and derivatives as well as growth in use of by-products from
coconuts husks and shells such as rubberized coir and coconut
peat. Consideration is made on the use of coconut byproducts for
bio-energy where this application may be viable and sustainable.
Health benefits of coconut include:
●● Effectively treats kidney stones and gastritis
●● Rehydrates the body effectively
●● Maintains body fluids
●● Maintains blood pressure
●● Prevents skin cancer and dry skin
Like many other tropical fruits, such as bananas, coconut water is
exceptionally high in potassium.
- Understanding Organic Matter and
Poor Soil Drainage: By Harold Vernon
My last article in Issue 19, Belize Ag Report, spoke about high
organic matter in soils and the benefits of soil organic matter.
There have been many reports of soils that have high organic
matter content and yet crops perform very poorly on them. The
key to understanding these soils is the amount of water retention
and the sustenance of an appropriate water level. So then, just
what are we to do to determine the appropriateness of the soil
and its capacity to be productive for the crop we will plant? It
is imperative that we know our soil first before deciding what to
Getting to know our soil can be done by more than one method.
Firstly, the native vegetation provides the first and most important
clues. Physical investigation by digging a soil pit provides
another. Soils all over Belize have been studied or surveyed and
reports exist that provide very good information and guides as
to the types and occurrences of soils. Land in British Honduras
by Charles Wright is the seminal guide and should be used along
with the consequential land use studies of Northern, Central and
Un-cleared land or neighboring un-cleared land provides the
first clues. Palmetto or short fan type palms and reeds always
indicate swamp land. Cutting type grasses, shrubs and prickly
bushes usually have small leaves. Fibrous grasses are present on
the drier portions that are prone to periodic flooding. These soils
are usually highly acidic.
- The Humble Pulse Gains Respect
and Market Share: By Beth Roberson
Found in 4,000 year old Egyptian pyramids, in 11,000 year old
Thailand caves, and reportedly in a Swiss Stone Age village, pulses
are among the oldest cultivated crops. A staple in India, China and
Asia, as well as in much of Central America for centuries, this high
protein nutritious legume is beginning to be appreciated in other
parts of the world. Now rediscovered and researched for fashionable
and healthy culinary dishes, pulses improve the declining quality of
Western diets, and serve myriad innovative purposes in processed
foods. The time for pulses has come – or more accurately, returned.
About 60 types of beans, grouped into 11 families by Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN, comprise the pulse
family: (1.) dry beans (Phaseolus) - kidney bean, lima bean, Azuki
Bean, Mung bean; (2.) dry broad beans - Horse bean, Broad bean
and Field bean; (3.) dry peas (Piscum) - Garden pea, Protein pea;
(4.) chickpeas - garbanzo Bengal gram (Cicerarietinum); (5.) dry
cowpeas - black–eyed pea, blackeye bean (Vignaunguiculata); (6.)
Pidgeon peas - Ahar/Toor, Congo bean, gandulels; (7.) lentils (Lens
culinaris); (8.) Bambara groundnuts - earth pea; (9.) vetch - common
vetch (Vicia sativa); (10.) lupins (lupines); and (11.) minor pulses,
including: Lablab, Jack bean, Winged bean, Velvet bean and Yam
bean. Green beans and green peas are legumes but not considered
pulses; consumed green, they are classified as vegetables. Soybeans
and peanuts and other oil-rich crops are likewise excluded from the
pulses. In Belize our culinary pulse of choice is red kidney and for
export production the black-eyed pea.
- Belizeans Learn Beekeeping and
Honey Production: “Make sure there’s no excess moisture, either from premature
harvest, rainy weather, high humidity, or condensation, in your
honey or it will be susceptible to fermentation,” was one emphasis
of the class on beekeeping and honey production at the education
center of Bridge the Gap Ministries, located near Black Man
Eddy. The class was conducted by professional beekeeper and
honey producer from North Dakota, Alan King, on 6 consecutive
Saturdays during January and February 2013. His lectures were
simultaneously translated into Spanish and Chinese for the few
students who did not readily understand English.
Honey, which is about 80% water when it is brought to the hive
as nectar, is hygroscopic. That means it readily absorbs moisture.
Anything above 18.5 percent is considered excessive and could
result in the honey fermenting and spoiling. (See Rubber Boots
question/answer of Belize Ag Report, Issue 17.) In Belize,
extracting honey even in the driest months, usually March and
April, requires careful attention to monitoring moisture. Alan
stressed that the containers of extracted honey need to be capped
with a tight-fitting lid. Large commercial honey producers watch
their hives and test the honey that is extracted for moisture
using a refractometer. As part of their natural process, bees cap
the honey in the comb with wax at the right level of moisture.
Extraction can begin after all the comb cells have been capped in
the multiple frames of each box, called a super, that contains the
bees and the frames.
- The Effects of Corporate Funding
for Agricultural Research: By Michael Brubeck
The role of corporate funding of agricultural research at land grant
universities, of which there are more than 100 currently in the US, is
creating incentives for bias in independent university research. You
hear again and again Congress and regulators clamoring for sciencebased
rules, policies, and regulations. So if the rules and regulations
and policies are based on science that is industry-biased, then the
fallout goes beyond academic articles. It really trickles down to
farmer livelihoods and consumer choice. A recent report found that
nearly one quarter of research funding at land grant universities
now comes from corporations, compared to less than 15 percent
from the USDA. Although corporate funding of research surpassed
USDA funding at these universities in the mid-1990s, the gap is
now larger than ever. What’s more, a broader look at all corporate
agricultural research, $7.4 billion in 2006, dwarfs the mere $5.7
billion in all public funding of agricultural research spent the same
year. Influence does not end with research funding, however.
In 2005, nearly one third of agricultural scientists reported
consulting for private industry. Corporations endow professorships
and donate money to universities in return for having buildings,
labs, and wings named for them. Purdue University’s Department
of Nutrition Science blatantly offers corporate affiliates “corporate
visibility with students and faculty” and “commitment by faculty
and administration to address [corporate] members’ needs,” in
return for the $6,000 each corporate affiliate pays annually. In
perhaps the most egregious cases, corporate boards and college
leadership overlap. In 2009, South Dakota State’s president, for
example, joined the board of directors of Monsanto, where he earns
six figures each year. This appears to be a conflict of interest at face
value; however let’s not jump to conclusions about the integrity of an
individual without factual basis.
- The Bias Against GMO: When we humans hold a bias concerning a certain issue, that
bias can be regarded as truth by us and, we think, should
become law. Another person may be of an exact opposite bias,
also regarding it as truth. In other words, the owner of the bias
says “There are two truths – only mine is really true and your
truth is false”. One subject of bias these days concerns firearm
controls – particularly in the US, but also in Belize.
Simply put, a large percentage of murders happen in Belize by
using knives, machetes and clubs. How can we eliminate all guns,
knives, machetes and clubs? (Impossible) When the evil enemy
makes me or you or my home or your home a mark, probably
an equal or superior weapon gives us a chance or dissuades the
evil one from coming into our presence. The evil one can get
a weapon from theft, an underground store or a neighbouring
country and “that’s no maybe “. We probably won’t go that route
and the law makes it very difficult to keep a gun in our home or
on our person. All of this adds up to Unfair – Unfair. All of this
is the result of a bias that became law.
When we have a bias, we search for evidence for support. We
may hunt for a scientific statement that proves GMO to be
harmful. (There is plenty of supporting information). Then we
will ignore the implementing health and safety agencies of forty
some governments where GMO producers make up to 85- 95%
of the crops grown in that country. The agriculture producers
in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Honduras, United States and
Canada – to name a few, mostly use GMO technology. Corn is
only one of the many food products that use GMO science.
- Stressed Vegetables: It happens to all of us: the home gardeners and the mass producers.
We forget to water our leafy greens or the day is particularly hot and
our veggies start to wilt just a bit. A few minutes after irrigation they
return to their leafy glory. Later, at harvest time the plants appear to
be physically unaffected except for a few lost leaves, no significant
change in flavors. No harm done, right? Wrong. We were taught that
and plenty of water and sunshine encouraged by a sprinkle or two of
our favorite fertilizer is essential to plant growth; but sometimes too
much sunshine and just enough water needed to keep the plant alive
can cause a series of events resulting in the plant producing high levels
of substances which may damage our health in the long run. Research
funded by ICDF conducted on Chinese kale revealed fascinating
results which could cause one to rethink the nutrition content of his
or her favorite green-leafy once it has been subjected to stress—water
Water is especially important to plants since it helps to dissolve the
essential nutrients in the soil and act as a vehicle to transfer these
nutrients into and throughout the plant and then shuttle any waste
out. Water also combines with the energy of sunlight and nutrients
from the soil in the process of photosynthesis to make the starches,
sugars and proteins. These photosynthates produced by plants
provide food for the plant itself as well as humans and any other
animal that consume it. Plants can survive short term periods of
reduced water availability which they can quickly recuperate from but
this is a delicate balance that can quickly lead to permanent wilting if
it is prolonged.
- Linking the Caribbean: Conferences/Meetings
30TH West Indies Agricultural Conference (held jointly with the
Caribbean Food Crops Society (CFCS)and the International
Society of Horticultural Science (ISHS) -30th June–6th July, 2013
See info on call for papers and registration on: http://
Caribbean Week of Agriculture
This annual event is held in a different Caribbean
country every year around October/November.
Caribbean Food Crops Society (CFCS)
Caribbean Agro-Economic Society
Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN)
Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute
Inter –American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)
FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean
Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute
Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre
- HURRAH for the FIRST LEGAL
EXPORT of CATTLE: Belizean ranchers had grown weary
waiting for the first legal export of cattle
to Mexico, but it finally happened on
February 25, 2013. Forty-four heavy
weight steers, assembled in a certified
shipping corral in Blue Creek, Orange
Walk District were loaded into a
waiting Mexican truck. The double
deck transport was sealed by sanitary
officials and began the journey to a
slaughter facility in Villa Hermosa,
Tabasco, Mexico. Belize cattle prices
are at an all-time high.
The San Pedro Sun
Wolfe’s Woofers: Which is Worse?
It's the age related question, which is worse? Alzheimer's or Parkinson's?
Letter to the Editor: “Good Job Police!”
It's not often that we hear good deeds by police officers, but when they are doing a good job, it is always great to hear praise.
Doctor Love: I want the perfect woman
Reader: I want the perfect woman.
Doctor: Good luck with that.
(Not really, but excellent advice on listening and treating ALL women like queens Doc!)
Caribbean Sunset in Caye Caulker
I have a million pictures of sunsets, but I can’t resist photographing them. Never will I see the same glorious production twice, each one a stellar master piece to be remembered. I suppose this is why we all marvel at this end-of-the-day blessing, a parting gift from Mother Nature announcing that the day is done.
Misc Belizean Sources
Belize debt exchange offer successful
The government of Belize announced on Friday that holders of 86.2 percent of the country's US Dollar Bonds due 2029 (the "2029 Bonds") had tendered their bonds in response to Belize's February 15, 2013, offer to exchange those instruments for new Belize US Dollar Bonds due 2038 (the "2038 Bonds").
Belize's offer required tenders to be submitted to Citibank, in its capacity as the exchange agent for the transaction, by 5:00 pm (New York time) on Friday.
Under the terms of the 2029 Bonds and Belize's exchange offer, holders of not less than 75 percent of the 2029 Bonds have instructed the trustee for those instruments to tender the entirety of the 2029 Bonds in exchange for 2038 Bonds in accordance with the terms of Belize's offer.
The results of the tender process that ended on Friday means that such an exchange of the entirety of the 2029 Bonds is expected to take place at a closing of the transaction later this month.
Southern Passage Giant Cave Jan 2013
Well this is a bit of a work in progress on the lighting. We might need to revisit the jet pack concept. But cave in this area is much more clear and ornate. — with Chip Petersen, Carrie Greene O'Farrell and Living Reef Belize at Belize Diving Services.
A twinkle gleams in your eye
The poem below was written by Angela in honer of her short time roommate Kristy Lynn who recently passed. If you are out at a beach bar today please raise your glass to Kristy Lynn, she loved walking on the beach, it gave her some small bit of peace during a very difficult time.
A good place to toast her is Live Rock and Roll 2pm – 5pm at the pool bar at Grand Caribe $5bzd local rum and $4bzd 10 oz beers. See invite and guest list on Cowboy’s Pool bar and Grill facebook invite. I also heard there a kite making contest at 9:30am but could not find any info Crazy Canuck’s beach bar facebook page and Google just turned up my 2009 kite contest at Crazy Canuck’s post. Contest or not it’s still worth stopping by this morning to enjoy some beach action and raise your glass to Kristy.
Walking North Ambergris Caye from Costa Maya Resort to Grand Caribe, Part One
Costa Maya Resort is 6.5 miles north of San Pedro town so getting up there was the first part of the trip. And that requires getting on the local water taxi, the Coastal Express (located at the Amigos Del Mar dock in town). Founded by John McAfee (you may have heard of him), it now has new management after Mr. McAfee quickly departed Belize.
After we dropping off all but one passenger, our boat left the Las Terrazas dock and spotted a small turtle that wasn’t moving. Baby turtle in distress? Only the very cruelest of souls could cruise on by…our captain asked both of us if we were in a huge rush and we stopped to save the turtle.
But the poor guy had already passed. We threw the sucker fish back into the water and took the turtle back to Las Terrazas where the employees on the dock were going to call The Belize Turtlewatch program. Awwwww…
US – Belizean Cultural Heritage Effort Hailed
The recent signing of a memorandum of understanding between the United States and Belize is a major step forward in protecting the little Caribbean country’s cultural heritage, a spokesman for the Belize Natural History Centre at Chaa Creek said today.
Brion Young said that the memorandum, announced 5 march 2013 by the US Department of State, demonstrates a commitment on the part of the two countries to end the looting of Maya temples and archaeological sites in Belize and halt the illegal trade of Maya artefacts.
The MOU also covers the illegal trafficking of Belize’s African, Spanish, British and other cultural treasures.
“Over the years we have lost so much of our heritage to looters, and we salute the United States in working with the Government of Belize to put a stop to this. Just as the original Declaration of Independence and other historical artefacts are important to US citizens, we value the icons of our country’s history and culture,” Mr Young said.
Belize Snapshot: Long Caye Aquarium Sea Turtle
This shot was taken while doing the third dive of my Blue Hole trip, at Long Caye Aquarium. In my opinion, this dive site is the most beautiful of all the “Blue Hole” dives since it has the boggles variety of corals, sea life, and the brightest colors. It’s a shame the underwater camera I rented wasn’t working properly, so all my pictures came out slightly tinted. But at least I was able to capture some of the underwater beauty at Lighthouse Reef, including this peaceful sea turtle who was adventurous enough to get close to us while looking for food.
Digital Nomad Location Spotlight: Ambergris Caye, Belize
San Pedro, located in Ambergris Caye, Belize, is a tropical paradise located a short flight away from the U.S. It is an excellent destination for those seeking to explore extended living abroad, but only a short distance from home.
San Pedro can quickly put a spell on visitors, many of whom decide to return to make Belize their permanent home. Belize offers a great advantage to the digital nomad in that only local income is taxed, leaving you exempt from it if your business is located overseas.
Check out Belize. You might fall for it too.
Why my fear of spiders kept me from exploring Belize’s ATM Cave
I’m embarassed to admit that yes, it was in fact spiders that kept me from going into Actun Tunichil Muknal, or ATM Cave, with Justin during our time in Belize this August. Lame, I know. You see, I have an almost debilitating fear of those annoying little arachnids and I was convinced that a great place to encounter some really creepy spiders would be in a deep, dark cave. No, thank you!
Unfortunately, my decision to stay back at the hotel while Justin went adventuring turned out to be one I would greatly regret as I, apparently, missed out on one of the coolest experiences in all of Belize. Justin came back to the hotel that afternoon a total adventure high, assailing the cave as one of the coolest adventures he’s ever gone on (right up there with swimming with sharks!). And that’s saying a lot coming from a chronic adventurer like himself!
ATM cave is one of Belize’s most popular attractions, and it’s an easy day trip from multiple locations throughout the country, though it’s most commonly undertaken from San Ignacio.
Although it’s not overly physically strenuous, it is not for those without a moderate level of physical fitness and a decent sense of adventure. Visitors will hike along a jungle path for about 45 minutes before the reach the entrance to the cave. During that hike, they will be required to cross several shallow streams.
The 2013 Central American Games In Costa Rica
The 2013 Central American Games are currently being held in San José, Costa Rica- March 3-17th. They are the largest multi-sport event ever organized in the country.
Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama brought their best athletes to the games, which is taking place in San José for the first time since its inaugural edition in 1973. More than 3,000 athletes from the region will compete and vie for medals in 26 different sports.
Kenneth Medwood (C) runs to win the gold medal between Costa Rica's Gerald Drummond (L) and Guatemala's Gerber Blanco in the men's 400m hurdles final. Costa Rica's Ana Porras (C) competes against Katy Sealy (R) 2nd place for Belize with a total of 4398 points, a personal best and national record for Belize, and Maria Morazan of Nicaragua in 3rd place in the 100m hurdles of the heptathlon.
“Drive” but not in Ambergris Caye, Belize
When pulling yesterday’s edition together I forgot to include a photo I took when Rose and I were at the Farmers Market in Dallas and have no real reason for including it today other than it amused us.
Was this Old MacDonald away from his farm for the day?
We have had a good stay at the hotel we have been at for the last six nights. Good room, fairly good choice for breakfast (and lots of it) and fairly centrally located. One thing I will not miss though is the unusually high bed. As our stay progressed I found the easiest way to get in to the bed was via a Fosbury Flop routine. Getting out of bed was just a case of putting the legs over the side and launching myself. Both proved to be very effective.
Thought I had really started to get my body clock back into sync when I woke up at 5.45 am this morning that is until I found out that the clock had gone forward by an hour for the start of Daylight Saving Time so it was really 6.45 am! Cant win.
Living With Less. A Lot Less.
I LIVE in a 420-square-foot studio. I sleep in a bed that folds down from the wall. I have six dress shirts. I have 10 shallow bowls that I use for salads and main dishes. When people come over for dinner, I pull out my extendable dining room table. I don’t have a single CD or DVD and I have 10 percent of the books I once did.
I have come a long way from the life I had in the late ’90s, when, flush with cash from an Internet start-up sale, I had a giant house crammed with stuff — electronics and cars and appliances and gadgets.
Somehow this stuff ended up running my life, or a lot of it; the things I consumed ended up consuming me. My circumstances are unusual (not everyone gets an Internet windfall before turning 30), but my relationship with material things isn’t.
We live in a world of surfeit stuff, of big-box stores and 24-hour online shopping opportunities. Members of every socioeconomic bracket can and do deluge themselves with products.
Travel Channel Highlights Growing Trend In Belize Asserts Chaa Creek
The Travel Channel’s recent feature on the Cayo District of Western Belize highlights an emerging trend in travel to the increasingly popular Caribbean destination, according to one of the area’s most visited eco resorts.
Bryony Fleming Bradley, The Lodge at Chaa Creek’s assistant general manager, said the March 8 feature article, “Spotlight on Belize“, was correct in pointing out that the Cayo District is now the second most visited area in Belize.
“The increasing popularity of Western Belize and the Cayo District has been a real topic of discussion lately among local tourism industry professionals, so it was very timely to see this emerging trend appear on the Travel Channel,” Ms Fleming Bradley said. “Belize is so justly famous for snorkelling and scuba diving along our Caribbean Sea coast and the Belize Barrier Reef that our many inland attractions are sometimes overlooked.
“However, more and more people are discovering how much there is to do in Belize’s vibrant west, with its huge tracts of pristine rainforest, meandering rivers, exotic wildlife and the abundance of Maya temples and ancient cities, and the word is spreading,” Ms Fleming Bradley said.
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