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8 million dollar US loan approved for Climate Resilience in Rural Development

Climate change involves rising temperature in the ocean, harsh and shifting weather conditions and changes to ecosystems that affect fisheries and eventually economies and cultural lifestyles. Droughts can be tougher and hurricanes can be stronger. This is why adaptation measures are significant for countries like Belize. Perhaps that is why the Government has procured a 16 million dollar loan specifically designed to deal with rural areas. GOB has approached the International Fund for Agricultural Development for financial assistance in the execution of a Resilient Rural Belize Project. And a bit of history was made in the House as for the first time in UDP history, an Acting Prime Minister presided over a parliamentary meeting while the sitting Prime Minister is in the country. Acting Prime Minister Patrick Faber introduced the 8 million US dollar loan which did not receive objections from the most vocal in the Opposition.

Jose Sanchez: “The Government of Belize has approached the International Fund for Agricultural Development for financial assistance in the execution of a resilient rural Belize project. Acting Prime Minister Patrick Faber  introduced the $8 million dollar US loan which will include development that takes climate change into consideration in rural areas.

Acting Prime Minister Patrick Faber: “By new changed development this component shall introduce and strengthen smallholder participation in select value change through the promotion of climate change through resilient production methods, product diversification and related innovations, value change development will be participatory with the objectives of: one, supporting high quality smallholders production for commercialization and two, enchanting sustainable farmers access to markets. Additionally this component shall support self consumption and healthy food choices through support for backyard gardens. The project also consists of climate resilient rural infrastructure and assets development which will support climate resilient productivity and improve market access through rehabilitation and provision of new road drainage and and irrigation infrastructure in priority areas. The overarching goal of this component to support climate resilient infrastructure, enhancing smallholder farming, business rural enterprise and opportunities while serving the largest number possible off direct and indirect beneficiaries and where as the international fund for Agriculture development has offered financing of up to $8 million US dollars for the said purpose.”

Jose Sanchez: “An extremely rare occurrence of Bipartisanship, both parties agreed the loan was good idea. Former Prime Minister Said Musa said he would vote for it. It’s is a conceptual amount of money, $16 million dollars that we are borrowing from DFAG and I am trying to understand what the money will be used for. As I read the notion it used a lot of big words and talks about trying to make resilient value of climate change development. I wish the mover of the motion will explain what that is all about. It is a fairly long term loan and there is three year grace period which is also favorable but when it comes to the interest rate, all it says is a rate equal to the AFAD reference  interest rate so what is that. What are we supposed to assume is the interest rate, we don’t want to assume Madam Speaker we need to be told before we can approve this loan. Like I said we don’t have no problem with the fact that we do need loans to improve our agricultural system, we do need loans to assist the small farmers and therefore we will be supporting the loan motion but it would be helpful if we can be told how this money will be spent and where in which district it will be spent.”

Acting Prime Minister Patrick Faber: “The rehabilitation of some 50 miles of road that will be constructed and rehabilitated in a way to be climate resilient so those are some of the details. The Honorable member also inquired about the interest rate and as I said in the preamble to the motion Madam Speaker. It is to be determined by the DFAG which is presented I think on the first of each 6 month period as I mention but initially the rate for the first semester that is due would be 2.8% so this is as I am sure the member will agree a very concessionary rate of borrowing. As he has pointed out it is over a very long period of time, 18 years and in fact we will get a 3 year  grace period and the program will span over a 6 year period so it is not something at all Madam Speaker that will be burdensome and onerous to Belizean people.”

Jose Sanchez: “Both parties supported the loan motion.”

Madam Speaker:Honorable members the question is that this notion be taken through all its takes this day, all those  in favor kindly say I, those against kindly say no. I think the I’s have it.”

Jose Sanchez Love News.