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Today's Belize News: August 25, 2013 #470965
08/25/13 05:50 AM
08/25/13 05:50 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 83,509
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP


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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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Norwegian Dügü
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.

International Sources

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 [Re: Marty] #470966
08/25/13 05:50 AM
08/25/13 05:50 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 83,509
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

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 Management Practices – Farmer Recognition Initiative (GPMPFRI) commenced in November 2012 and is an interagency collaborative initiative undertaken to promote and recognize good pesticide management practices among 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. Marty Casado
  • 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 each other.
  • 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: “Paramagnetism”, “Ancient Mysteries, Modern Visions”, and “The Soul of the Ghost Moth”. 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 Chamaedorea species. Chamaedorea ernestiaugustii 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. Chamaedorea oblongata common name is Jade, Xate macho or oblongata. Chamaedorea elegans 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 in Belize.
  • 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 handlers.
  • 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 birders everywhere. Launched in 2002, 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 Go to http:// or the iTunes App store to find the mobile applications.
  • 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 and fuel. 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 market.
  • 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 spread. 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 solid content.
  • 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 Applied Agriculture 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 unit 2. Establishment of feed mill and feed mixing unit on campus 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 processing facility 5. Construction of a biogas facility to provide energy and organic fertilizer
  • 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 foreign agencies.
  • UAVs: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Belize Usher in New Era of Precision Agriculture: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, commonly 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 Partnership”. 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 and students. At the end of the opening ceremonies the attendees accompanied Mr. 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, Belize Quintana Roo, Mexico Peten, Guatemala
  • 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
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