Green Tropics And Farmers Compromising
And at that UNIDOS event today, the media got a chance to talk to CEO in the Ministry of Agriculture Jose Alpuche about Green Tropics. The Spanish owned company is moving ahead with it's sugar cane factory, but it still has to settle matters with 30 Valley of Peace farmers who had their 150 to 200 acres of vegetables wiped out by the multi-national's pesticides. It would be a story of straight victimization except that the small farmers are squatting on Green Tropics Land. And that ambiguity is what had the CEO walking on eggshells today:..
Jose Alpuche, CEO - Ministry of Agriculture
"I know the parties are continuing negotiations. We've been told by both parties that they have some parameters - broad parameters on which they agree. They are now working on the proverbial details, but we believe that both parties are on the way to negotiating an amicable solution."
"Part of the issue, we've been informed is that while it is indeed this pesticide that damaged the crops, those farmers were supposedly squatting on Green Tropics land. As a member of government have you been such informed?"
"I think it was established that that is the fact but as I said, they are working on a solution among themselves which is absolutely good that they will be able to hopefully coexist into the future."
Giovannie Brackett, reporter
"Have your ministry concluded whether or not they should change those pesticides?"
"There was a particular pesticide that is not approved for use in Belize. It does not say that its not safe, it's just not been approved. The issue of drift is something that happens from time to time, but there are usually mitigating factors to counter this sort of occurrence. I dint think we can shy away from the use of aerial application, pesticides and quite frankly even fertilizers. What we are reviewing along with the department of environment at this actual case but also too attempting to strengthen the guidelines of application of chemicals to ensure that we don't have this sort of re-occurrence."
Alpuche did not share the name of the fertilizer that burned and killed 80% of the farmers' crops.