Ministry of Agriculture Conducts Coconut Tree Management Training for Farmers

Ministry of Agriculture Conducts Coconut Tree Management Training for Farmers

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise has completed several training sessions for coconut farmers in northern and southern Belize, to assist in improving the quality of their coconuts. The coconut tree management trainings, held in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), was held in Orange Walk from August 18 to 20 and in Toledo from August 22 to 24. Farmers from the Toledo Coconut Cooperative, and the Northern Coconut Growers Cooperative, learned several sustainable means of improving soil quality and how to hybridize their coconuts. Enrique Rivas, Extension Officer with the Ministry of Agriculture explained how the training would benefit the farmers economically as well as benefit the environment.

Enrique Rivas, Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise: “Well, what we want to do is integrate our small farmers with the processors. What we really want to do is that the farming community, the coconut farming community can come together and be able to join their production, to amalgamate their production so that they have this sales of coconuts and they can grow their parcels. And we’re also showing them sustainable practices, green sustainable practices where they can use the Mokuna there, you can use Jack Beans, then you can use leucaena, some of the legume trees that can be used for fertilization of a tree parcel, which comes forward for sustainable organic coconut production. So when you go about opening a coconut you say man this is a good coconut it’s very nutritious plus it comes from an organic farm, or at least a sustainable farm which is using different materials from within the farm and is very, very productive for their parcels for their farms, for their coconut trees, and as well healthy for their environment because they’re no longer using inorganic materials which can be somehow harmful to their health. Not the fertilizers at least, but what we come together to the pesticides and herbicides which are very harmful to their health as well.”

The training sessions were part of the advisory services of a JICA project called COVID-19 Agricultural Value Chain Improvement in Belize, which commenced in February 2023. Rivas added that JICA is conducting a value-added chain analysis, to determine the potential for advancements in the coconut industry. The next training session for coconut farmers, designed to strengthen their marketing, is scheduled for February 2024.

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