Photo: (l-r) Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Jose Mai and FAO’s Representative in Belize, Mr. Crispim Moreira
by Khaila Gentle
BELMOPAN, Tues. Nov. 22, 2022
On Monday, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise launched two new technical cooperation projects in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which can be valued at about $200,000 US every. The projects give attention to coverage improvement in several sectors of the Ministry in addition to the creation and enchancment of digital agriculture providers.
According to the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Jose Mai, the projects have been the results of a direct request by the ministry to the FAO.
“We realized that we had different weaknesses and deficiencies. It is unacceptable to have agriculture as the backbone of a country, but yet we don’t have sound agriculture policy,” stated Minister Mai to reporters on the launch of the projects.
The venture that focuses on coverage improvement will place emphasis on seed coverage in addition to yard poultry, advertising and marketing, and indigenous territories. According to a press launch from the Ministry, it goals to enhance the livelihood of rural farmers and indigenous folks “through the adoption of an enhanced governance and policy framework enabling diversification through regional trade.”
The second venture, stated Minister Mai, will handle the weaknesses of present current digital agriculture packages.
“We realized that while we have very good programs in place, there are still weaknesses. For example we have BAIMS—Belize Agriculture and Information Management System—which is good as it is today, but it needs to be updated regularly, or whatever you have on there is useless. So we found that weakness, and again we asked FAO to help us to strengthen that,” he stated.
The enchancment to these digital programs will embrace the introduction of a advertising and marketing intelligence program which can permit customers to have repeatedly up to date data on what’s at present on the agriculture marketplace for sale.
Another collaborative venture by the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO is their feeding program initiative. Through the initiative, which can also be being carried out in collaboration with the Government of Mexico and CARICOM, some 488 main college college students have been receiving free, wholesome meals day by day.
The Resilient School Feeding Project is part of a bigger initiative generally known as the “Cooperation for Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience in the Caribbean” Initiative, or the Resilient Caribbean Initiative, for brief.
Over the previous 12 months, six colleges in Belize have had their kitchens upgraded and outfitted with new home equipment. Numerous college cooks have additionally been skilled in meals security and the preparation of wholesome meals. Those colleges are Biscayne Government School, Chan Chen Government School, Guinea Grass RC, Lucky Strike Government School, Santa Martha Government School, and San Joaquin RC.
“Proper nutrition is important for a child’s growth and essential to learning at school. The school feeding program offers our children a proper diet, which promotes their physical and intellectual development. The program also assists parents and the community by ensuring that the children have a healthy development,” stated the principal of Santa Martha Government School, Seleni Grajales.
The Resilient Caribbean Initiative is being funded by the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID) and the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE). It is being applied by FAO in 14 CARICOM international locations, six of which have centered on college feeding packages. Those six international locations are The Bahamas, Belize, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname.