On Friday, we showed you the grand ceremony for the opening of the National Agriculture and Tradeshow 2022. Tonight, we have a recap of the weekend events that took place at the show grounds in Belmopan. Reporter Vejea Alvarez was there and tells us more.
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: Over the weekend more than 27,000 from across the country flocked to the National Agriculture and Trade Show (NATS) showgrounds in Belmopan. After a two year hiatus caused by the COVID pandemic, the event returned with a bang. Both days saw a few showers that left those in attendance dodging muck. Nonetheless, the long awaited event was celebrated by many. Including the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Jose Abelardo Mai.
Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security & Enterprise: “It’s a relief. I’m so happy to see so many people. I’m so happy to see that the farmers are showing off what they have done for two years now and I think that it’s going to be a great day today. We are getting ready for the rodeo to begin. The sun is hot. The weather is beautiful so I encourage everybody to come out to see what we have. Come and support our local producers. It’s gonna be a great day.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: There were several Belizean farmers, livestock producers, entrepreneurs, entertainers and a plethora of wholesalers and retailers from various companies in attendance but the main focus of the event was placed on local farmers like 19 year old Darwin Orellana, the Junior Farmer of the Year, who, like many others, had a huge display of fresh greens on sale.
Darwin Orellana, Junior Farmer of the Year: “Without the farmers there aren’t foods in Belize so we should take the farm as a lifestyle especially for me is that I know that what they are eating is something very healthy quality of food and I’m glad that I can produce something for Belize.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: Okay, so what type of crops do you plant there in Maskal?
Darwin Orellana, Junior Farmer of the Year: “Primary plants are vegetables, onions, watermelons, cantaloupe, tomatoes, sweet peppers, a little bit of everything.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: Many attendees were at Love FM’s main stage enjoying the vibrant entertainment. Others were out and about partaking in the many interactive activities that were provided by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Beekeeper: “What we have here, this is a Virtual Beekeeping. Normally beekeepers know what is the process and how we work beekeeping in the fields but the public doesn’t have the idea of how this works. So, today you can have the experience in there with the use of these gadgets to have an experience of what is virtually beekeeping. You will see how the bees work the honey. How the honey is packaged and how we normally take it to the table. Here you have a four minute experience from farm to table.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: The event was held under the theme “Innovations in Technology, Diving a Climate Resilient and Competitive Agriculture and Food Sector.” A concept that was evident from the elaborate of educational booths like this one displaying a miniature model of a farmhouse utilising solid rain technology.
Educational Booth Representative: “This model, it’s a replica of a real farm that exists in the Vaca Area and as it says, it’s a “rain roof,” a climate smart approach to rainwater harvesting. So why this? This is a technology that existed from since ever. What we tried to do is harvest the water and use it efficiently in the farm to grow crops, grow tilapia fish and so on.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: Among those looking to score a deal or just enjoy a meal were the die-hard rodeo fans like Santi Valencia who was exuberant to see a return of bull bucking and cattle roping.
Santi Valencia, Master of Ceremony, Rodeo: “You know it’s a lot of mixed emotions right? Because when you talk about a rodeo, how could I not be here? Even though we are very cognizant that there is a pandemic still out there. There’s no undemic, the pandemic is still part of the, the COVID is kicking still, but how could I not be out here when this is my, part of, yeah. This is my natural habitat and get to meet with our cowboy family because we have a special bond as cowboys out here.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: The grandiose return of the National Agriculture and Trade Show featured the many activities like amusement rides, mechanical bull rides, performances from live bands and tons of giveaways. While it was a fun-filled weekend, all that’s left to be seen is whether Agric will lead to a spike in COVID cases or not. Reporting for Love News, I’m Vejea Alvarez.