Hon. Jose Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise: “Producing vegetables has become increasingly challenging for a number of reasons. One of them is climate change. Second and most important is the use and abuse of agrochemicals, in those included are insecticides. This opening of this lab allows us to do things in a different manner; a safer and healthier manner. The less insecticides we use the healthier our vegetables are, the safer for human consumption. Hence I give this activity, this program great importance and I want to thank OIRSA for always being there for the Ministry of Agriculture. I want to thank our partners in development today and our fellow statutory bodies BAHA, CARDI, BLPA, PCB; we all have a very important role to play.”
Biological pests such as the pink hibiscus mealybug and the green lacewing continue to cause serious problems for sugar and bean producers. Minister Mai added ridding the industry of these insects means the economy can blossom.
Hon. Jose Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise: “Both are very important because they control insects that cause us serious economic damage. Sugar cane stem borer in the north it had never been a problem. We know it was in Belize but not in great numbers and quantities. Today the sugar cane industry is suffering from I believe a huge infestation of the stem borer. We’ve also seen another pest in the last two weeks which is the Megalurothrips usitatus. Again it had never been seen in Belize, today farmers have lost hundreds of acres of black eyed beans because of this crop. It means that the chemicals they had been using do not have any effect on the control of these insects. Biological control today gives us that opportunity to control these insects so that farmers can be able to harvest and make money. Money is what is lacking in this country today and we cannot allow farmers to lose more money. We have to find innovative ways so that farmers can succeed. Farmers lose because of excess rainfall. Farmers lose because of no rain fall. Farmers lose because of wrong policies we put in place and farmers lose because of insects and diseases. Today OIRSA gives us an opportunity, an opportunity for farmers to control the insects in the right way at the same time making our vegetables, making our products safer for human consumption.”
The idea is that if the pest population is drastically reduced, the adult insects will search of food in bushy areas.