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Sep 24, 2014

Green Tropics and Valley of Peace Farmers Settle…

In March 2014, crops planted on thirty-two farms in the Valley of Peace area were destroyed, allegedly by herbicide. The farms, operated by the Valley of Peace Farmers’ Association, were located on lands owned by agriculture giant Green Tropics and the dispute quickly got ugly. The farmers sought compensation because they claimed that it was spraying by Green Tropics which destroyed the crops. The company retaliated by issuing an eviction notice. Attorneys were brought in for both parties and tonight we can reported that the matter has been settled. This morning attorney for the Farmers’ Association Andrew Marshalleck told News Five that both parties are satisfied with the compromise reached.

 

Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney for Valley of Peace Farmers

Andrew Marshalleck

“There’s been an agreement between both parties. They’ve both agreed to the terms, and I think that it works in the interest of both sides. In terms of exactly what it is – from the farmers’ side they’re releasing any claims that they have based on any adverse position of lands belonging to Green Tropics other than a hundred and sixty acre parcel that’s been identified and they’re also releasing any claims that they have arising out of the damaged crops. From the company’s side, from Green Tropics’ side, they’ve agreed to subdividing off a hundred and sixty acre plot, readying it for agriculture and transferring title to the farmers.”

 

Julius Espat

Julius Espat, Area Representative, Cayo South

“This is a very good thing for Belize. This shows that when you want to do things amicably it can happen for the benefit of both parties. We in Cayo South and in the Cayo District appreciate that Green Tropics is investing millions of dollars in our area. We are also appreciative that the farmers will get title to land. They have never had that for thirty-three years. And that empowers them. And that is what I believe good governance is all about…educating your people so that they can understand their rights and empowering them with title to land which is one way…with that title now they can go to a credit union or a lending institution and borrow so that they can better their farms and better their lives.”

 

According to Cayo South Area Representative Julius Espat, there was also minor financial compensation to the farmers which will assist them in moving their properties to the new land. That land will, at the request of the thirty-one farmers, be held in the name of the association of farmers, rather than being divided up into individual plots.

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