The Ministry of Agriculture held a training workshop on coconut nursery establishment and management with its personnel in Dangriga. It was facilitated by the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, CARDI, under the Caribbean Coconut Industry Development Project. In an over the phone interview, District Agriculture Coordinator for the Stann Creek District, Marvin Blades spoke more on the initiative.
District Agriculture Coordinator for the Stann Creek District, Marvin Blades: Cardi and the Ministry of Agriculture has been working on coconut nurseries throughout the country, there are trees nurseries available. One is set up in the Stann Creek district where I am at right now. One would be in Orange Walk and the other one is in Central Farm which is the main nursery. Today we are doing a coconut nursery training for technicians with the extension officers. Nursery technicians and some key agricultural teachers in the different high school in the Stann Creek Districts. The purpose of the training is to arm technicians with the knowledge and the know how as to different techniques in managing the coconut nurseries. Coconut has been very important commodity for our district and it continues to rise in its importance and every year equities continue to increase and we believe it will be like one of the commodities just like citrus that will be taken off sooner or later to a point where it is sustainable and it will producing and exporting at some point in the future.
George Emmanuel, agronomist at the Caribbean Coconut Industry Development Project says there are great benefits for Belize in the coconut industry.
George Emmanuel, agronomist at the Caribbean Coconut Industry Development Project: The Coconut industry for Belize and for the Caribbean is very important in that the number of processed materials that can be generated form coconut for the both local and the regional market as well as the growth of the industry in the generational employment because more persons would be employed within the industry, as well as this industry is schedule to grow because there is a market for fresh coconut water in the northern region: the United States and so Belize as a producer of coconuts in the past having suffered previously from the lethal yellowing disease in the earlier 1970 1980 has made a number of efforts to revitalize the industry and so the growth of the industry is important. There is the need to rehabilitate all the plantations which some of them are over 70 years old and it is now seen important that the establishment of nurseries to generate good planting material for replanting of farms, the rehabilitation of the industry for the sustainable growth of the Coconut industry in Belize and the region at large.
The Caribbean Coconut Industry Development Projectis a regional project being carried out in eleven countries in the Caribbean. It started in 2014. It is jointly implemented by the International Trade Center and CARDI and is funded by the European Union.