Tonight, an inter-agency group of government professionals continue to investigate a situation in Valley of Peace where 30 small farmers are accusing Green Tropics, of putting their livelihoods at risk.
These vegetable farmers who supply the Cayo District claim that on Saturday, March 15, Crop Dusters from Green Tropics began spreading herbicide in the area, and some of their chemicals damaged 150 to 200 acres of vegetables belonging to the farmers. They are reporting that 80% of their crops in that area have been poisoned, and are dying from chemical burns, which they blame on Green Tropics. The Ministry of Agriculture has since gone in to assess the situation and they is estimating that the herbicides have destroyed at least 150 thousand dollars' worth of produce, and there is the concern that the chemicals will taint the rest of the crops.
They have since been in contact with Green Tropics, who has provided them with a response to the farmers' accusations. Reports to us say that there is some contention about whether the farmers planted on their own land, and that they could be squatting. We contacted the company yesterday via email to get their side of the story, but up to news time, they have not responded. This evening, we were able to reach a representative of the company via telephone, but we were asked to call back tomorrow so that the appropriate personnel can address our inquiries.
If the name Green Tropics rings a bell, it should. This the same Spanish company, with subsidiaries in Guatemala and Belize, which ran afoul of the environmental laws when they dredged a canal in the jaguar corridor in Central Belize. They had to pay a record environmental fine of 100 thousand dollars. This company wants to invest 90 million US dollars to produce and mill sugar in the Cayo District.Channel 7