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Maya Mountain Research Farm wins international award

Outstanding innovators were recognized as a part of the Commonwealth Seventieth anniversary. Christopher Nesbitt was among the innovators who were awarded by the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry.  Nesbitt hard work and persistence for some three decades earned him this award. Approximately, thirty years ago Nisbett bought a piece of land in San Pedro Columbia Village located in the Toledo District. Little did he know then that the property was not prime for farming. His persistence, however, led him to regenerate the landscape and turn it into the Maya Mountain Research Farm.  We met up with Nesbitt earlier this week and learnt more of his work.

Christopher Nesbitt – Director of Maya Mountain Research Farm: “In Belize the greater landscapes include citrus, cattle growth, banana plantations, sugar cane land, milpa or grain crops where the following period has not been absorbed and soils become tired. You cannot return them back to their former use. The easiest thing to do is to start to mimic the process of succession. Succession is where people get old and die and new people take over. That is biological, it happens in plants and so kind of mimicking the process of succession that we see in the foothills in the Maya mountains. We came up with a list of analog species that can substitute for that and found a way to sort of mimic that process so we get food, fiber, fuel, fauter, marketable corps, medicinal crops and timber while at the same time we are replicating the ecosystem functions of soil and soil moisture retention, habitat creation and carbon supprestration which is the big one that everybody is talking about right now. We are hoping to work with more organizations here in Belize but also in other parts of the Commonwealth and the Caribbean community to take some of the lessons that we have learned and apply it because, for example, I have worked in the Dominican Republic a few years ago. The Dominican Republic basically all the soils there are very similar to the Toledo District, the same limestone underneath, same weather patterns, same patterns of plants that come in and they have a lot of degraded lands. What we learned here could be applied there, the same could also be applied to Trinidad or Jamaica or any of the countries in the region so we are hoping to work more with other partners.”

Nesbitt work has allowed him to come up with agriculture models that are able to repair degraded land.///////