Today's Belize News: August 25, 2013
08/25/13 05:50 AM
08/25/13 05:50 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
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Specials and Events
Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials
The San Pedro Sun
Ministry of Health to implement Dengue Control in San Pedro Town
As a part of its ongoing countrywide Dengue Prevention Campaign, the Ministry of Health is introducing an operation in San Pedro Town.
The campaign includes ultra-low volume (ULV) spraying, thermal spraying of houses, premises inspections, spraying of drains and issuing of bed nets to homes in high-risk areas for dengue. A team of personnel from the Vector Control Unit was dispatched to San Pedro Town on Tuesday, August 20, to investigate and assess suspected cases of dengue that were reported in areas such as DFC, Boca del Rio and San Pablo. The issuance of chemically-treated bed nets has proven to be the most effective form of personal protection to reduce dengue transmission. This initiative is free of cost to the residents and is being carried out in close collaboration with the San Pedro Town Council.
Misc Belizean Sources
Jezelle is Top Model of the Week
Cayo's Jezelle, who models at many of the fashion shows, was named Top Model of the Week. They have a behind the scenes video that's worth a watch.
"Belize's Top Model is selected Weekly and shot on location at various sites in and around the beautiful Central American travel destination of Belize. Models are selected based on various criteria by a well known and published photographer in Belize, Will Moreno from Will Moreno Photography and Lucelli Cal the owner and principal of one of the hottest trending boutiques in Belize, Catwalk Fashions. We will take you on a journey with us as we travel around Belize and perform these photoshoots in these picturesque locations with beautiful models."
Guava Limb Café Launch Party
The Guava Limb Cafe had their launch party Saturday. They had a little introduction for the Moroton Community Outreach Committee and their neighbors last night since their goal is to work for the betterment of the area. Great mission statement there. They overlook the pristine Macal River Park. Beautiful place, great food, and the best prices around. Junior photographer Minnelli Zetina was there to get some great shots of last night's event.
"There's a new café in town, the Guava Limb Café, and it looks like it'll be the hot spot for coffee, and well priced appetizers, sandwiches, and salads. The breakfast menu looks almost too good to be true. Thanks to Minnelli Zetina for the better pictures in the album."
Tower Hill, Orange Walk on Saturday morning
The Orange Walk district appears to be hardest hit by localized flooding in the wake of the passage of a tropical wave on Friday afternoon. These pictures were taken near Tower Hill, Orange Walk on Saturday morning.
The Belize Times
Going with a bang! – Audrey Blows the Whistle on Barrow
Friday August 23, 2013 will be Audrey Matura-Shepherd’s last day in office as the Vice-President of Oceana in Belize. While the Prime Minister and his entire UDP Government will be glad to see the firebrand activist exit the public spotlight as the organization’s most senior official in Belize, Matura-Shepherd has made it clear that she isn’t really riding off into the sunset.
Not only is Matura-Shepherd not fading in the dark, but she is also not leaving Oceana without a bang!
Matura-Shepherd, a former UDP Senator and editor of the UDP newspaper, has exposed a scandalous secret agreement signed by the Barrow Administration with two oil companies in 2009.
100 DAYS WITHOUT WATER – UDP victimize Sarteneja and Guinea Grass residents
Potable water is one of the most basic but essential needs for human beings but several communities in Belize have been experiencing water shortages. This is the case in Sarteneja village in the Corozal District and ...
PAC Reform is Here to Stay!
Despite growing public support from the Business Community, the NTUCB, and the citizenry, the Office of the Prime Minister today issued a statement decisively rejecting the calls for reform of the ...
FECTAB smells the rat!!! – Norwegian Cruise deal will cripple Belize City tourism
Belize City tourism stakeholders, who depend mostly on cruise tourism, have declared their opposition to the recently signed deal between the Barrow Administration and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) to develop a port in Southern Belize, because it will cripple tourism in the old capital.
Today the most outspoken tourism organization, Federation of Cruise Tourism Association of Belize (FECTAB), held a press conference calling on the Government to reconsider the deal.
Politics is more than just a game
By G. Michael Reid “A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody” ― Thomas Paine
It is becoming more and more obvious that Belizeans are becoming totally disenchanted with the entire political process. Many are resigned to the belief that all we do, in going to the polls, is to change “black dog for monkey”. There are those who swear that they will never vote again and then others still, suggest that the only solution is a third party, preferably made up of GOD-fearing people. At the end of the day, what is abundantly clear is that the status quo is unacceptable and requires drastic and precipitous change. It is broke and we need to fix it.
One thing that became painfully clear from last Wednesday’s House Meeting is that Belizeans cannot hope to see anything that even remotely resembles change under this administration. The sad part is that the very change for which we clamor was the platform upon which this government was elected. Accountability and Transparency were to be the pillars upon which this administration was to stand but boy, did we ever get bamboozled! Report after report of blatant corruption has surfaced and not only has the Prime Minister not “sprung into action” as he promised, he appears to be more “sprung” than active. The only time he surfaces is when he needs to defend the wrongdoing of one wayward minister or the other....
The Barrow Administration’s pro-poor policy can be summed up in three words: FOOD PANTRY and BOOST. Instead of reducing poverty in Belize, this politically-driven policy serves to perpetuate poverty, dependence and blatant discrimination and political victimization. Some UDPs benefit. All known or suspected PUPs, even the poorest of the poor, ...
Belize football girls off to UNCAF U-20 football championships
Belize’s Female U-20 Selection left Tuesday for Comayagua, Honduras to participate in the UNCAF U-20 Female Championship. The team lost to host country in the first match 2-1. Representing Belize in Honduras are: Beatrice Alfaro Captain - Santa ...
Baby Jaguars impress at U-15 championships in Cayman Islands
Belize bombed Grenada 6-1 in their 4th and final match to finish with a 3-1 record at the first ever CONCACAF under-15 football championships in the Cayman Islands. Mark Samuels scored Belize’s 1st winning goal against Grenada ...
Belize wins 2 in CONCACAF U-20 volleyball championships
The Belize national under-18 female volleyball team has a 2-1 record as it won its first two games against Honduras and El Salvador in the Under-20 Central American Championships in Santa Rosa de ...
OW teacher commits suicide!
Orange Walk Police are investigating a possible suicide committed by an Orange Walk teacher on Wednesday night. 28 year old Belizean teacher, Julian Chi, was found hanging from an electrical cord with the noose around his neck inside his bedroom. His dangling body was ...
I’m Not Backing Down, says “Faada”
One month ago, UDP mascots Brian “Yellowman” Audinette and Allan “Walletman” Kelly were charged for violently assaulting community activist Phillip “Faada” Henry and Police Officer Wilbert Chi. Yellowman is the second UDP ...
Business Senator questions cost of GOB’s legal battles
The Government of Belize’s legal woes with the Ashcroft Alliance has cost Belizean taxpayer’s no less than $5 million in legal fees. For the most part, the attorneys involved in these ...
AMAZING GRACE – Highway to Hell!
It’s a well-known rock song: “I’m on a highway to hell!” And it’s definitely a bobble-head inducing beat. Ironically, many people are dancing to the form of this beat one way or the other, happily oblivious to the truth in the statement. Yes. Hell is real. Admittedly, most people, religious ...
HOME ECONOMICS – Lower price of imports vs. Investment & job
By Richard Harrison Everything that Belize produces can be imported cheaper from abroad. Does that mean that we should stop producing and start importing everything? Sugar and citrus can be imported for around half the price from Brazil……banana and plantain for less than half the price from Honduras and Costa Rica. Should we close ...
Why Teachers are the True Leaders of Our Country
“Compassionate teachers fill a void left by working parents who aren’t able to devote enough attention to their children. Teachers don’t just teach; they can be vital personalities who help young people to mature, to understand the world, and to understand themselves. A good education consists of much more than useful facts and marketable skills.”–Charles Platt
Annually, teachers each silently conduct a major self-assessment of how to provide their students with options, encouragement, and awareness of the importance of learning. They tap into the souls of students who are not empowered to learn and teach them that no matter what the students choose to do, they should be the best that they can be. Our teachers are mandated to teach with competence and responsibility. Ironically, responsibility does require competence.
SCALES OF JUSTICE – Daddy Don’t Know!
By anthony sylvestre If you were a parent and the neighbours continuously came to report on your unruly, obdurate child, and all you did was to make excuses for your child and kept declaring ignorance of the child’s actions outta road and had one constant refrain “I don’t know about that,” ...
Galen honors Mrs. Jane Usher with Honorary Degree
On Sunday, August 18th, 2013 the prestigious Galen University honored an icon in the Belizean community, Mrs. Jane Usher, at their 2013 commencement ceremony. At the ceremony, Mrs. Jane, as she is affectionately known, was recognized for her leadership ...
Hon. Jose Mai supports sports and education in Orange Walk South
PUP Area Representative for Orange Walk South, Hon. Jose Abelardo Mai, continues to support sports and education in his constituency. Hon. Mai has assisted ...
PUP 1 – DEAN BARROW 0
Dean Barrow is no Daddy, as he boasted in the House. He is an old do nothing political Grinch in party politics who has stolen the future of the nation’s youth from them. He was elected to the National Assembly as far back as 1984, ...
PUP builds working partnership with Guinea Grass Village Council
On Wednesday 21st August, the Hon Jose Mai and the Hon John Briceño met with the newly elected Independent Village Council of Guinea Grass.
The meeting was to discuss the planning and strategic development of the community, in the face of neglect facing the community under the UDP Government.
Chairman Jose Hernandez and his councilors shared welcomed the meeting and explained that they are more than willing to work with the Hon Area Representative, the Hon. Jose Mai and the PUP to benefit the residents. The Hon. Mai and the Hon. Briceño explained that the gesture was reciprocal. The PUP will do all in its capacity to assist the village council in improving the Guinea Grass community, including lobbying on their behalf at the National Assembly for critical assistance and development projects.
Taxing Us to Death
After six long years of living under a grossly incompetent UDP government, the people of Belize are on the brink of taking matters into their own hands against King Dean. Teachers were promised a raise that was tagged to a fictional oil find, while Gapi was on ...
Hon. Dolores’ community outreach in BRC
Area Representative for Belize Rural Central Hon. Dolores Balderamos Garcia and her committee continue their outreach as the opening of school in September approaches. Hon. Dolores was in Gales Point Manatee on Thursday August ...
Another legal battle with Aschroft – …more money for Brother B & Lady Lois?
THE Barrow government, in an ominous move last week, swooped down with its iron claws and grabbed a prime coastal piece of real estate at Commerce Bight just south of Dangriga. It is land that was in receivership by the British Caribbean Bank (BCB). It has been a part of a longstanding legal battle. No rhyme or reason has been given for this sudden high-handed decision by the government, but to further turn the screws on BCB by revoking a lease. It has prompted reactions of cynicism on the social media and elsewhere in the public forum.
The government obviously does not have a plan, much less any immediate plan for the pier at Commerce Bight. However, it says that it wants to build an international port there. It is the most utter foolishness that has come so far from this government. It is expected that a slew of legal entanglements will follow with the Prime Minister’s law firm, or that of his relatives or cronies, representing the government against the Ashcroft Alliance.
Progresso Residents Slam GOB for Incompetence – Road Project yet to start even though completion date was May 2013
Residents of Progresso Village are totally dissatisfied with the UDP Government and their bucket of lies. Last week, the Barrow Administration averted a huge embarrassment when they learnt that ...
REFLECTIONS ON THE PUBLIC SQUARE – NO to MASS TOURISM
By Francis W. Fonseca On July 31, 2013 the Government of Belize entered in to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Belize Island Holdings Ltd, a subsidiary of Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), for the development of Southern Belize as a Cruise Tourism destination. NCL has purchased a 70 acre island, Harvest Caye, ...
Paul Rodriguez scolds Belize Action leaders
Dear Louis and Scott, Last night, Monday 19th, I think you conceded advantage when Scott apologized for not admitting before that the Gender Policy has "multiple goods". Instead of doing that, it is much better to continue to emphasize that the Gender Policy seeks to ram down our throats values that are ...
Dear Editor, It was an insult for the Norwegian representative to attempt to appease our people in their grand scheme by throwing in “wah lee ting” for us, saying that our Garifuna brothers and sisters will be able to “dance” the Dügü for tourist dollars. It exposed the plantation/peasant mentality that continues ...
NCL deal is not good for Belizeans
Dear Editor, After watching the news and listening to the Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) and BTB representatives I am convinced that there is nothing in this for us Belizeans. This is an outright hustle for some big UDP supporters and NCL. What NCL is proposing is that they will have everything on ...
Deconstructing Finnegan’s Abnormal Behavior
Dear Editor, The behavior of some of the elected representatives inside the National Assembly at the last House Sitting was the most disgraceful and dishonorable I have seen in my life. I was ashamed that I had my teenage daughter listen in, in an attempt to support her aspirations in politics. Instead ...
Open Letter to F.I.U. – Investigate Boots!
Dear Mrs. Marilyn Williams,As a citizen and registered voter of Belize, I write this open letter to call to your attention your fiduciary responsibility as Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit. The institution is set up to investigate, charge and prosecute matters of ill-gotten gains outside of one’s income.
I bring to question the business conducted by one Anthony “Boots” Martinez. I call on him to let the records show that his filings with the Integrity Commission, as required by our laws. As I understand it, prior to 2008 Boots owned a single house and was not such a wealthy man, possibly even paying mortgage. Now, this same Boots has paid off his loan, and now owns not one, not two, but several houses including a huge building he is presently building on cemetery road.
Is he an overnight millionaire? His spending does not match his income. His money maths has never added up (which includes large deposits at one of the banks).
Thankfully the rain has stopped for now, it is rained so heavy between last night and this morning that many of the back roads have turned into waterways. In the east side of our yard we have a big lake where the water level rose up to an inch or so above ground. I know may peoples yards on the island have turned into fish ponds, this makes a good case for doing your due diligence before buying land to ensure you are high and dry.
Since walking in puddles is almost unavoidable in rainy season, make sure to wash your shoes and feet well with clean water when you get home. Puddles can carry parasites. You don’t have to have a cut on your foot, either, many parasites which can get on your bare skin and burrow underneath. Also try avoid puddles if you have recently had a new pedicure, during a pedicure there is a chance of getting minute abrasions that could easily allow the entry of the bacteria. It is not a bad idea to wash your dog’s paws after they walk in puddles and get rid of any wash off any toxins and germs they may have picked up.
Below are a couple of videos and a few pics I took on my walk to the corner store showing just how flooded San Pablo area is getting.
“Barefootin” in San Pedro,Ambergris Caye, Belize.
When Rose and I first came to Belize, and Ambergris Caye in particular, back in 1998 I brought with me – not knowing what to expect (information on the Internet was nowhere near as informative or comprehensive then)- loafers and flip flops. Within a few days of arrival though I stopped wearing them and did what I saw loads of other people do. I went “barefootin”!
San Pedro was a lot different then (and this is not an intro to a stream of invective). There were no cobbled or paved roads. Depending on the weather they were either very dusty or very muddy. But I don’t recall (is the memory selective?) too much rubbish about. Definitely no broken glass or sharp objects on the roads. So I felt comfortable “barefootin”.
It’s not for me now though (see plenty of people that are “sans chaussures”). You do come across the occasional dangerous object in the roads (sometimes even on the beach) and I just am not going to take the risk of damaging my feet when we visit our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize
Rose has been following the journey (isn’t it great what today’s telecommunication systems can let you do) of the stuff we are having shipped from the UK and yesterday the ship (Philadelphia Express) that our stuff is on docked in Charlotte. It’s now on its way to Miami and will then make its way to Belize City. We are really looking forward to its arrival. It’ll be like Christmas in September opening all the parcels!
How To Ride A Taxi In Belize
Some Belize taxi advice
Taxi courtesy: When you get into a taxi, greet everyone with a Good Morning or Buenos Dias. You might be a bit scrunched—3 adults to a back seat is fare game—so try and stay in the boundaries of your own seat.
First come first served… usually. Give yourself a bit of extra time to get where you are going in case a fellow passenger requires a bit of a detour for their destination. Usually the driver will go in order of who gets in first, but if a later passenger’s destination is before yours, the driver will probably take them first.
U.S. May Build Southern Border Security For Mexico With American Tax Dollars
Obama administration and Mexican government officials recently discussed creating a three-tier security system designed to protect Mexico’s southern border from drug and human traffickers, according to U.S. officials.
The border control plan calls for U.S. funding and technical support of three security lines extending more than 100 miles north of Mexico’s border with Guatemala and Belize. The border security system would use sensors and intelligence-gathering to counter human trafficking and drug running from the region, a major source of illegal immigration into the United States.
According to the officials who discussed the U.S.-Mexican talks on condition of anonymity, the Mexican government proposed setting up three security cordons using electronic sensors and other security measures along the southern Mexican border, along a line some 20 miles from the southern border, and along a third security line about 140 miles from the southern Mexican territorial line.
NSK Farms Beat Chambers Polo Team in Charity Tourney
In commemoration of the visit of the first lady of Belize, Her Excellency Lady Kim Simplis Barrow, who also is the founder of the popular “Inspiration Centre” in Belize, The Nigeria-Belize Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (NBCCIA) organized a Mini Charity Polo tournament at the NSK farms in Keffi, Nasarawa State.
The first competition of the Mini Charity Polo Tournament was between the Chambers Polo team and the NSK farms Polo team and it resulted in NSK farms Polo team beating the Chambers Polo team by 11 goals to 9 goals. The second competition was between the Pinnacle Polo team and the Imani Polo team with the Imani Polo team emerging victorious.
NCL buys Belize land to develop $50m cruise port
Norwegian Cruise Line has purchased some 75 acres in Belize for a planned cruise ship port destination.
The land, which is called Harvest Caye, has two islands in the Stann Creek and Toledo Districts in Belize. Norwegian said it planned to invest $50 million in the project.
“As our fleet continues to grow to 15 ships by 2017, we expect that we will double the number of guests sailing on our Western Caribbean itineraries, and, once this new destination is complete, bring four times as many guests to Belize than we do today,” said Kevin Sheehan, NCL President and CEO in a statement.
Sheehan said the company planned to develop the destination using a “sustainable design and eco-friendly principles that will retain the natural beauty and local culture of this tropical paradise.”
The two islands had previously been approved for a resort project, Caribbean Journal reported.
Dügü for tourism an insult to Garinagu, but its potency could be useful elsewhere
“Colonialism not only deprives a society of its freedom and its wealth but, of its very character, leaves its people intellectually and morally disoriented.” (Franz Fanon, 1966).
Several members of Garifuna communities in Belize and the diaspora, as well as many other Belizeans, have expressed through radio, TV and social media, their outrage at the recent news that the Norwegian Cruise Lines investment at Harvest Caye is proposing to include the dügü as part of its marketing strategy to attract cruise tourists to Southern Belize.
Re: Today's Belize News: August 25, 2013
08/25/13 05:50 AM
08/25/13 05:50 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
More News: Scroll up from here
The August - September 2013 issue of The BELIZE AG REPORT is online HERE
This Issue's Stories:
- Opportunities and Global Perspective
of Cacao for Belize:
Cacao Field Day and Forum: The market for chocolate
couldn’t be better. There
is a worldwide deficit of
60,000 metric tons. Just at
the time that production is
decreasing in the two main
exporter countries of Ghana
and Brazil the demand
is increasing by 3% per
year, creating a wonderful
market opportunity for Belize. This was the theme of the forum
held in Toledo on June 12, 2013. The forum developed from an
idea that the U.S. Ambassador, H.E. VinaiThummalapally, had
when he visited Toledo cacao producers in February. Having
heard about Belize’s excellent chocolate quality in places he’s
visited and seeing the potential for the chocolate produced in
Toledo he contacted Mr. Jose Alpuche, CEO of the Ministry of
Natural Resources and Agriculture (MNRA), and Dr. Muhammad
Ibrahim, Country Director of InstitutoInteramericano de
Cooperation para la Agricultura (IICA), and Mr. Anhil Sinha
of Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute
(CARDI), to sponsor the forum. In addition to the sponsoring
organizations, the stakeholders included members of the Toledo
Cacao Growers Association (TCGA), the Toledo Agriculture
Development Association (TADA), cacao farmers and processors.
- Good Pesticide Management Practices
Execution Progress and Future Work: The Good Pesticides
– Farmer Recognition
November 2012 and
is an interagency
undertaken to promote
and recognize good
volunteer farmers by bringing into focus the potential sources
of agrochemical contamination for horticultural products
from the field to consumers.
The initiative is expected to improve the competitiveness of
participating local farmers through a scheme that will award
public recognition to those in compliance with the GPMPFRI’s
requirements. Farmers’ compliance is monitored and
recorded by way of a toolkit which was developed based on
Global G.A.P. criteria. In addition to farm inspection and field
sampling activities, the initiative also has a farmer assistance
component whereby volunteer farmers are provided with
basic information and training in pesticide management and
application practices. Tangible support in the form of personal
protective equipment, pesticide storage units, field guides and
other tools to improve pesticide management practices on the
farm also form part of assistance offered to volunteer farmers.
- TO THE EDITOR: Good Morning Beth,
I just wanted to say that I read every Belize paper every day and
the Ag Report is the best of them all. Real stuff. Stuff that can help
the country and our neighborhoods. NO POLITICS. Its manna from
heaven. Thanks again.
- Bill Lindo responds to Vernon's Response Issue
21 page 5: Dear Harry Vernon,
I refer to your letter to the editor in issue # 21 in The Belize
Ag Reporton my subject “Energetic Agriculture”. You stated
that I lack understanding of the subjects chemistry and soil
sciences. If you mean that as it relates today to the teaching
in schools and universities, then you are correct. The schools
teach a pseudoscience in obedience to the corporate masters.
God made the universe and nature is a product of God’s action.
As human beings we have a job to try and understand how
nature works and discover its laws. In trying to understand
God’s nature, we can never look at it in a linear-entropic way.
This foolishness that the whole is just the sum of the parts is
wrong to physical reality. The whole is always greater than the
sum of the parts.
My friend, you lack understanding of nature because nature
is not chemistry. Nature in regards to agriculture is made up
of chemistry and biology -- physics is the bridge that joins
them. You need to know all three and their relationship to
- What Has Professor Philip S. Callahan
Done for Agriculture?: In issue # 21 of The Belize Ag
Report I wrote that Prof Philip S.
Callahan is the greatest scientist
of the late twentieth century. Who
is this 90 year old scientist and
teacher? Prof. Callahan has written
over 18 books and published over
180 technical papers in various
journals. Agriculture practitioners
should read and study his books:
Mysteries, Modern Visions”,
and “The Soul of the Ghost
He got his Ph.D. at Kansas State in
entomology (study of insects). He
wrote that his assignment under
Prof. Reginald Painter was “to find
out why plants that grew on poor
soil produced far more corn earworm moth eggs than those that
grew on dark, well-aerated, bottomland soil”. In other words,
why is it that crops which are grown on healthy soils never attract
diseases and insects.
He wrote that it took him 40 years to discover the answer and he
also discovered how insects communicate. The results of his insect
discovery caused a “fire-storm” in entomology. Many teachers were
angry that he over-turned their “pet Theory of Olfaction”. But the
United States government was very happy about his discoveries.
While he taught at Louisiana State University, University of Georgia,
and University of Florida (Gainesville), he also worked for both the Dept. of Agriculture (Southern Grain Insects Research Lab & USDA
Insect Attractant and Behavior Lab) and the Defense Department for
over 30 years.
- Tally Me Bananas: Driving into my property the other
day I was horrified to see how
neglected my banana plants looked:
overcrowded, with leaves dead and
perhaps even diseased. Earlier on
I had passed a newly erected sign
just before Riversdale advertising
Bunches of Fun Banana Tours 624
4297. Now there is a good idea. So
I made an advance booking for a
dozen ladies who were somewhat
skeptical when I asked if they would
like to accompany me. Our guide,
Evin, was lively, charming and eager
to tell us about the farm and the
importance of the banana industry
here in southern Belize. We were off
to a great start with an informative video outlining banana history.
Sagitun Farm is one of 24 farms in Belize owned by 9 farm owners
all forming the Banana Growers Association supplying bananas to
Fyffes. Although there are hundreds of varieties of the genus Musa,
the Cavendish is THE banana of choice grown by the globes’ largest
producers. Export bananas were once the variety Gros Michel or
Big Mike but this was wiped out by Panama disease. The Cavendish
is its replacement and it could be threatened by other possible
diseases such as Black Sigatok, hence the need for strict handling
and chemical control.
We walked to the fields and were surrounded by large luscious
plants. The banana is, in fact, not a tree but the world’s largest
herb. If there was any dissent in my group to begin with it was soon
replaced by smiles, keen interest and fascination.
- Xate Survival Story: What is Xate? Xate
(pronounced SHA-tay or
sha-teh) are ornamental
palm plants. Xate are
three of the eleven palms
that are part of the
is the most
familiar of the three. It
is typically known by its
common name, fishtail,
cola de pescado, pata
de vaca or rabbit ears.
common name is Jade,
Xate macho or oblongata.
common name is Elegans,
Xate hembra or parlour palm.
Xate palm leaves are green and smooth. Plants can grow to be
seven feet tall, but generally fall over when they reach the height
of an average man.
Chamaedora palms grow from Mexico and Central America to
Bolivia and Brazil. Xate varieties are most commonly found within
Belize and Guatemala as they grow well in the shade and favorable
climate of the neo-tropical rain forest. Birds and mammals of
this region help to disperse and pollinate the seeds. Xate plants
are harvested for their leaves, seeds and whole plants for the
florist industry in the United States, Canada and parts of Europe.
- Apple Trees of Belize
Featuring the Mammee Apple: Mammee apples are not
botanically apples, but
have a similarity to apples
and are recognized and
known as apples in Belize
and the other tropical
countries where they are
grown and enjoyed.
Mammee apple, Mammea
americana, also known as
mammey apple, mamey
apple, coco apple, Saint
Domingo apricot, mamey amarillo, South American apricot,
abrico and several other names
native to the tropical country of
origin, produce fruits, which,
despite their resemblance to
apples, are botanically considered
to be berries. Mammee fruits
are grown from an attractive
evergreen tree of the Garcinia
family (Clusiaceae) which
resembles a magnolia tree.
Mammee apples are commonly
confused with Mamey Sapote (Pouteria sapota) of the
Sapotaceae family but are unrelated. Mammee apples are a
tropical fruit related to the mangosteen.
- 30 Years of Growth and Firsts
For Cayo’s Running W Meats: Worldwide it is not uncommon for people to consider an imported
item more valuable than a locally produced product. In Belize this
has often seemed especially true. For a small and less developed
country (LDC), as Caricom classifies us, we are accustomed to much
importation. However, as one of only 2 Caricom net exporters of
food, the game is changing; Belize is gaining a reputation not only in
the numbers for exported food and commodities but also in the high
quality of our products, especially in the agriculture/food arena.
Running W’s manager, Abdala Bedran, was chosen as one of the
main speakers at the 2012 International Brahman Congress, held in
Panama, in recognition of not only their excellent products but for
Running W’s exceptional forward thinking sustainable management
at Cayo District’s Running W Farm.
Running W is a family based business. The late Mr. Escandar
Bedran and his wife, the late Mrs. Paulita Bedran, parents of 7,
instilled a strong worth ethic in their children. Mr. Bedran was
successful in many varied businesses and had an affinity and talent
for purchasing land; Mrs. Bedran, a popular civic minded woman
and exceptional mother, instilled a strong respect for education in
her children and grandchildren. Wanting to maintain a strong and
close family, Mr. Bedran always encouraged and facilitated, when
possible, businesses which would maintain his family together
- FACING THE GIANT: AVIAN
INFLUENZA IN MEXICO: The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) 2012 and
2013 outbreaks in Mexico
have always been worrisome
to Belize but now, almost a
year later, with the disease
now in five Mexican states
Belize faces a formidable
giant. The outbreak first
started in Jalisco in June
2012 and, by November, Mexican authorities considered
it eradicated. However, there was a loss of some 22 million
birds due to the disease or control measures and some 166
million doses of vaccine were applied. But it re-surfaced at
the start of 2013 with a vengeance spreading to nearby states
and resulted in 12 states vaccinating against HPAI, 9 of these
states being unaffected states. This giant with the outbreak
now being reported in Puebla, Mexico has its sword drawn
against Belize, Guatemala and the Yucatan peninsula. As in
biblical times when David faced Goliath, Belize now needs to
face the threat of HPAI from Mexico. This giant is a threat to
Belize’s food security, economy, poultry industry and animal
health. Public health is not under any threat as the disease is
primarily a bird disease.
Belize’s response is a coordinated response with the lead
being taken by BAHA and the Belize Poultry Association
(BPA). Regular meetings of poultry committees (poultry
advisory committee, poultry health committee) are held to
update on the evolution of the disease as well as to harmonise
preparation and prevention measures. While BAHA is
strengthening its veterinary services for early detection and
prompt response, the BPA is ensuring that its producers
are aware of the threat and step up biosecurity measures.
- BEL-CAR UPDATES: These are Bel-Car’s main products, by percentage (dollars, not
volume) with note of direction from previous year.
BLACK EYE PEAS: down, approx. 10%
RK BEANS: level, 25%
CORN: up, 64%
SORGHUM: slowly up, less than 1%
BLACK EYE PEAS: Production this past year is still low, and is
expected to remain low again next year, due to prices returning
to $0.65-0.70/lb, down from the unrealistic $1.00 to 1.10 of
last year. Bel-Car management travels extensively, analyzing
global factors, increasing their marketing success. Trips to the
Middle East increased understanding of the short but premium
market for black eyes for the Ramadan holidays. Europe has also
purchased some Bel-Car black eyes this season and discussions
are under way with southern US growers, who may need to
import to meet their regular customer demands.
RKs: Bel-Car is still buying at $1.60, although international prices
are cheaper; Bel-Car will need to reduce prices or stop selling.
After a time of world scarcity of RKs, the USA and Argentina raised
their production levels, which lowered world prices. Buyers such
as Trinidad are already buying out of the region, paying the heavy
40% Common External Tarriff (CET). Presently slightly more
RKs are inventoried in country than will be consumed locally, so
prices must decline. Higher local consumption will likely follow,
and more beans in local rice and beans.
- Cattle Sweep in Spanish Lookout
Finally Begins: The Belize cattle sweep, which began in the Northern Mennonite
community of Blue Creek in November of 2012, finally arrived
in Cayo’s Spanish Lookout. 400 head of cattle were tested
on Monday, June 17th, with a follow up reading of results on
Thursday, 20th June. Two visits with each animal are required to
complete the service. On the first day the cattle have blood drawn
for bovine brucellosis and are given a bovine TB (tuberculosis)
test under the tail. Blood samples are sent to the lab, but the TB
tests require the cattle to be individually handled again precisely
3 days later, to manually read those results. For the completion of testing for the approximately 14,000 to 15,000 head within the
community, the national committee projects a 4 week timeline.
- All Ranchers May Choose Eartag Type: Computer
Readable or Not: There seems to be much confusion within the various Mennonite
communities concerning the ‘computer ID chips’ which are
available, but are not required. The ‘computer chip’ tags are not
connected to any satellite; they have no capacity to indicate where
the animal is located. The tags only have an individual reference
number, identifying each specific animal on a computer which
must be on the ranch with the animal to enable reading it. Hence,
if a group of cattle with the computer tags are moved through a
gate, en masse, and the reader computer is there, it can ‘read’ all
the individual numbers onto the computer immediately. With
the non-computer tag, each one must be manually read by the
- Agriculture Prices at a Glance- $$$$$ :
- Bird Watch - From my Perch
How Technology Changed the Way
We Watch Birds: Watching birds used to mean
carrying a backpack filled with
bird books and notebooks. Today
a birder can carry his books, bird
songs, and a notebook, all in
one pocket-sized compact tool.
Birders all over the world can
enter their observations into a
global database, for the benefit of
Launched in 2002, eBird.org
provides data sources for basic
information on bird abundance and distribution. In March of 2012,
participants reported more than 3.1 million bird observations across
North America. Belize has its own community of e-Birders, people
who faithfully record their observations in the field or in their own
backyard. As a result, there is already a wealth of information
available online about your favorite bird species, where they are and
when you might find them.
The application, Bird Log CA (Central America) is a tool to use when
you’re “on the go” or to keep track of the birds you see in your own
backyard. It is a “real-time, online checklist program” that works on
your smartphone or tablet, and with it you are able to make entries in
the field. When you connect to the Internet, you can submit the data.
Your observations then become part of a huge global database at the
Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. The
information can be accessed at http://www.ebird.org. Go to http://
www.birdseyebirding.com/ or the iTunes App store to find the mobile
- GMOs – Brief History and Prospects for
the Future: The month of May 2013 marks 30 years since scientists first
published that they could place functional foreign genes into plant
cells. This technology, known as GMOs, or Genetically Modified
Organisms, however, has been around for a bit longer, with the
first GMO product, human insulin, released for marketing by
Genentech as far back as 1982. The scientific breakthrough
using genetic engineering in plants signaled an exciting phase in
biotechnology, a phase heralding the ability to artificially insert
desired traits and characteristics into plants used for food, fibre
In early 1992, analysts predicted that one of the first biotech crops,
the Flavr Savr tomato, which was engineered by Campbell Soup
Company to remain firm after ripening, would obtain regulatory
approval and be the first success story of a GM crop on the market.
Campbell believed that tomatoes that can ripen on the vine, obtain
their full natural flavor while on the plant, and still make the trip
to the supermarket and the dinner table, without getting mushy
or rotten, would be a delight to producers and consumers alike.
The anti-GMO campaign, led largely by organized organic farming
groups in the US, launched a very effective campaign, leading to
Campbell’s decision to withdraw the Flavr Savr tomato from the
- Citrus Greening: Citrus greening, also known as
huanglongbing disease or HLB,
has been called the most serious
pathogen ever to infect citrus.
It has already killed millions
of citrus trees in Florida and
resulted in an economic loss
totaling 4.5 billion dollars and
8,000 jobs. The disease causes fruit to drop prematurely and
to grow misshapen and bitter, thereby making it unsuitable
for either juice or the fresh market.
Greening is a bacterial disease transmitted by the Asian citrus
psyllid (ACP). It originated in China last century and found
its way to Brazil, Mexico and Florida early this century. Most
recently it has been identified in Texas, Louisiana, Georgia,
South Carolina, California, Arizona, Cuba and Belize. In areas
where only isolated cases of the disease are present rigid
quarantine measures have been implemented to prevent its
Such is not the case in Florida where the disease is now
endemic in virtually all areas where citrus is planted. Growers
are faced with a decision: to destroy all their trees and plant
something else or try to manage through the disease.
- USING A REFRACTOMETER: The ability to easily measure Brix
in the field makes it possible to
determine ideal harvesting times of
fruit and vegetables so that products
arrive at the consumers in a perfect
state or are ideal for subsequent processing steps. A refractometer is an
instrument for measuring Brix. An explanation of the background and
importance of Brix in determining quality of produce can be found on
page 10 in issue 17 of the Belize Ag Report, Aug/Sept 2012.
Degrees Brix (symbol °Bx) is the sugar content of an aqueous solution.
Specifically, one degree Brix is 1 gram of sucrose in 100 grams of
solution and represents the strength of the solution as percentage by
weight (% w/w). For fruit juices, 1.0 degree Brix is denoted as 1.0% sugar
by weight. This usually correlates well with perceived sweetness. If the
solution contains dissolved solids other than pure sucrose, which can
be the case in vegetables, then the °Bx only approximates the dissolved
- Pig production
Faculty of Science and Technology
University of Belize Central Farm Campus: One of the key components of the
livestock section at the University
of Belize Central Farm Agriculture
Department is the piggery unit which
serves the following purposes: 1.
Generate income for the institution’s
development and sustainability, and
2. Serve as an instrument to expose and involve students in
the day-to-day management and husbandry practices of a
farrow-to-finish swine production unit.
But the program is about
to change in preparation
for the offering of a
Bachelor’s Degree in
in the near future.
For this purpose, the
following expansions are
contemplated over the
next three years.
UBCF Expansion Program
1. Expansion of current operation to an 18 sow farrow-tofinish
2. Establishment of feed mill and feed mixing unit on
3. Construction of a finishing unit with a capacity to finish
all piglets born in the facility
4. Improve and expand processing capacity of the school
5. Construction of a biogas facility to provide energy and
- Let’s Make an Agricultural Revolution,
Belizean Style: This country has a big, ugly debt problem. Mostly it smolders; in
2012 it bubbled up, but one day it’s going to erupt in the form of a
sharp currency devaluation and painful austerity measures that set
the country’s economic and social development back generations,
with all the human misery that that entails. Fortunately, we have
the power to change the future through our economic choices and
agriculture has a leading role to play.
Belize imports more than its exports: the merchandise trade deficit
rose by Bz$81.3m or 23.3% in 2012-13; the balance of payments
current account deficit widened to 2.7% of GDP. The value of
exports of goods produced in Belize (rather than re-exports)
dropped by Bz$25.3m; imports for domestic consumption
increased by Bz$162.8m. The fixed exchange rate is feeding our
addiction to imports, but hamstrings export competitiveness. The
trend is unsustainable and eventually the dollar peg will snap.
But the problem is bigger than trade. We don’t save enough to
generate funds for investment: the IDB Country Strategy for Belize
talks about the high cost of domestic finance as a brake on growth
and the need for foreign investment, including in agriculture. There
is no stock exchange for companies to raise capital and the banks
are ineffective in recycling savings to feed cash-hungry businesses.
Governments periodically indulge in spending splurges, resulting
in a precipitous public debt level of 78% of GDP. We borrow to
cover current expenditure: the government had a Bz$17.3m deficit
in 2012-13 and capital expenditure is dependent on handouts from
- UAVs: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Belize
Usher in New Era of Precision Agriculture: Unmanned Aerial
known as drones,
are already at
work globally in
agriculture for both
small and large
farmers. Belize is
embracing the high
tech aerial systems,
with dealers in
place for agricultural drones, creating new opportunities in the
exciting realms of agriculture. Due to their efficiency compared
to other systems of ag monitoring and applying crop treatments,
UAV use is expected to expand drastically. The Association for
Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, (AUVSI) predicts
the agricultural sector to comprise 90% of worldwide UAV
use. Japan, South Korea and Australia have thousands of these
already in agricultural use. The most experienced UAV makers at
this time are from the Orient.
UAVs fly in an ultra-efficient tight pattern of up one row, over and
down the neighboring row, compared to turning necessary with a
fixed-wing aircraft. They accomplish more tasks than traditional
aircraft by not being limited by direct human visibility. UAVs can
monitor crops for yield or health and can disperse applications
of liquids, granules or coated grains. They can work as low as
12 INCHES above the plants, reducing application medium and
minimizing unintended treatment of neighboring lands.
- Cheesemaking at Western Dairies: What evolved into Western Dairies
began with cheese making by the
Abram J. Thiessen family in their
home in Spanish Lookout; their private
operation lasted about 8 months before
it was decided by the leaders of the
community to form WD. Now WD produces cheese in 9300
pound vats and forms it in 20 40-pound molds every processing
cycle, during which only one type of cheese is made. Like the rest
of WD, the process for cheddar and regular mozzarella cheese
is mechanized; of the 106 employees only 3 people make all the
cheese. All cheese starts with milk that is brought in daily. Before farmers
started feeding their cattle hay during the hot, dry season milk
production fluctuated by season. Now Western Dairies (WD)
can expect about 430,000 pounds of milk per month (8.6
lbs. of milk = 1 gallon). Small farmers collect milk in 5 gallon
containers but big farmers have much larger containers, some
holding upwards to 1000 gallons, on their farms to collect milk.
Every day WD sends out a technician to test milk for impurities,
including water. Every container of milk is tested before it is
brought into WD’s processing plant. WD sends a truck to collect
milk from the large dairy farms.
- NATIONAL AGRICULTURE & TRADE SHOW
May 3rd – 5th, 2013: 2013 marked the sixty-fifth year of recognizing and
celebrating Belize’s rich history and bright agricultural
future. This year’s theme describes the mission of
the fair, “Stimulating Prosperity in Agriculture and
Food Production through Renewed Public and Private
The newly renovated and updated fairground was
bustling with over forty-two thousand visitors from across the country for a
week-end total. The mission of the NATS show is to showcase and introduce
new products made by Belizean farmers with the goal to educate, support and
encourage improved agriculture practices in Belize, including cattle, shrimp,
sugar, citrus, produce, coconuts, rice and many more crops. Awards were
given to Farmers of the Year, Senior Farmer, Woman Farmer and Junior
Farmer. Members of the Taiwan Technical Mission who are working with
the Belizean Ag sector to help improve farming techniques and to promote
diversity displayed their ag techniques and displayed fruit, rice and vegetable
exhibits. Many Belizean-based new businesses were on hand to proudly
promote their products, including WOW soy sauce, Northern Heat hot sauce,
cassava products, jellies and jams, gluten “veg meats”, grain and fruit cereals
and many other innovative products.
It was a festive occasion and offered something for visitors of all ages, including
a rodeo, two playgrounds, a carnival, live music, lots of great handmade
Belizean food, crafts, farm products to see, taste, hear and enjoy.
- Rice Seed Production Project Field Day: A rice field day was held on May
24th, 2013 at the Central Farm rice
field. The event was organized by
the Taiwan Technical Mission
(TTM) and the Ministry of
Natural Resources and Agriculture (MNRA). Invited
guests attending were Hon. Hugo Patt, Minister of State in
MNRA; Mr. Douglas Chang, First Secretary of the Embassy
of the Republic of China-Taiwan; Mr. Eugene Waight, Chief
Agriculture Officer, MNRA; and Mr Fernando Yeng, Chief of
TTM. A total of 91 guests attended including MNRA technical
officers, representatives of collaborating institutions, farmers
At the end of the
Wayne Chen, Rice
Specialist, TTM, and
Ms. Ina Sanchez,
MNRA officer to a
field tour of the seed
producing plots. The highlights of the field tour included:
- Tilapia Hatchery Center
Ground Breaking Ceremony: of the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM), former Chief Agriculture
Officer, Eugene Waight, and others in the agriculture ministry, the
project for establishing a tilapia hatchery was launched on July
17, 2013 on Baking Pot Road, Central Farm, Cayo. The project is a
joint co-operation by the Government of Belize and the Republic
of China (Taiwan). Funded by the International Cooperation and
Development Fund of the Republic of China (Taiwan ICDF), the
5 year Aquaculture Project signed in February 2012 is estimated
at BZ$5 million. It includes the construction of a tilapia hatchery
building (which will also house a research facility), 18 earthen
ponds, a reservoir, a sedimentation pond, 12 nursery tanks and
16 fry (young fish) concrete tanks.
Ambassador of Taiwan to Belize, the Honorable David Wu, who
gave an overview of the project at the ground-breaking ceremony,
said that primary objectives are to (1) produce one million “all
male” high quality tilapia fingerlings to assist the development of
small-scale tilapia farming operations on Belize, (2) promote the
use of modern tilapia culture technology to increase the annual
tilapia production and gradually decrease the price of fingerling
production (3) reduce the cost of commercial feed by 30 - 35%
with the use of alternative feed and (4) supplement the meat
protein intake to families in rural areas through improved tilapia
production in the region.
- Local and Regional
Fuel Prices: Cayo,
- Garden Tools: Back to Basics: The dry season is here and we home gardeners are waiting for the first
rains to come down to kick start that backyard garden. In the mean
time you can accumulate seeds, pick out an area in the backyard for
your home garden and get your tools ready. While there are many
single function trendy tools on the market that promise to make soil
most manageable with the least effort, the basic multifunction tools
are space saving and most practical for budget gardeners such as
ourselves. After all, the purpose of home gardening is for higher output
from low input. These eight tools are a great start for your home
garden and are multifunctional, practical and space saving.
Standard shovel or spade is the first on the list; these are used for
digging up the softened earth and moving away extra materials, such as
sand. When purchasing a spade or shovel choose a sturdy handle and
comfortable grip. Shovels and spades with D-shaped handles make it
easier to lift what you have dug or scooped. Look for a curved foot rest
below the neck of the blade for easy insertion into the ground. Find
an appropriate height and don’t be afraid to ask the store assistants
to see all that they have. A slick metal surface allows material to slide
off easily, so stay away from rusty blades even if it gets you a discount.
- Ag Briefs
- Letters To THE EDITOR
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