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Mar 14, 2003

Open day shows opportunities in agriculture

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Farming in Belize has never been more diversified…and as new products come on stream, so do opportunities for a successful career in agriculture. Today the University of Belize campus at Central farm held an open day and as News 5′s Janelle Chanona discovered, in 2003 down on the farm has never been better.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting

Today, the campus of the University of Belize’s Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Central Farm was overrun with students from schools across the country.

With a student population of just under seventy, campus life is quiet, but courses are varied. Classes can start in the shade of the nursery and end in tending the crops in the field. And the young men and women of FANR took turns demonstrating how they use the resources above and below to learn the tricks of the trade.

According to Jorge Cawich, Dean of FANR, the school is struggling to become a symbol of self-sufficiency.

Jorge Cawich, Dean, Faculty Agriculture and Nat. Resources

“In other words, produce what we consume here at the dining hall with the students. And of course, if we have any surplus then we can think of income generation. And most importantly at this point in time, we are focussing in food processing, whereby we would like to add value to the products that we are producing at FANR.”

So far the students have tried their hands at producing honey, manufacturing jams and jellies, drying fruit, cutting cheese and curing meats.

Gabino Canto, Associate Lecturer

“What we are doing right now is to build the amount of livestock that we have, so that we can have a constant flow of animals to slaughter and process. Similarly, the crops area is also doing the same thing. So that this is a processing unit right in here where all the raw products, the primary products will come in here. We will process it and then sell it to the public, and also provide to the kitchen for the consumption of the students here at the campus.”

Janelle Chanona

“How do the students react to these hands on activities?”

Gabino Canto

“Well actually, I have to chase them from time to time because they keep coming. They like it, and that is what I like.”

Francis Fonseca (drinking chocolate milk)

“It’s excellent, you should try it.”

Well G.O.B. got milk, but since FANR won’t be a cash cow anytime soon, like other institutions around the country, it will need those regular injections of capital.

Francis Fonseca, Minister, P.M.’s Office

“The Ministry of Education is there to serve the people of Belize, and to serve the young people who want to get a better quality of life and advance themselves through education. That is what the Ministry of Education is there for. So we will work hard as I said with stakeholders in the educational sector. We will work hard with them to make sure that we are united in out efforts to lift the standards of education. And I think our actions will speak for themselves over the next few weeks and months.”

But the highlight of the day was definitely down in the bullpen, where the kids lined up to see calves castrated. Gentlemen you might want to take a deep breath, look away, or even cross your legs.

Student

“This is a disinfectant used to clean the scrotum before we cut it to prevent infection.”

Janelle Chanona

“Is it painful for the animal?”

Student

“The disinfectant?”

Janelle Chanona

“No, the whole procedure.”

Student

“Yeah, I expect it is, but it’s part of cattle rearing, so it has to be done.”

Apparently, calves sans bolas are worth more on the market.

Janelle Chanona

“Why do you need to do this?”

Student

“Once we have cut an animal, we call them a steer, and we don’t want them for reproductive purposes. We do selection and we would prefer that the best bulls are selected in the herd. And the ones that are no so good are castrated.”

Janelle Chanona

“A castrated animal gets heavier, so it’s worth more on the market?

Student

“He stops messing with the cows, so his intention is just to eat and sleep and rest.”

I don’t blame these guys for being just a little bit nervous either. Hey, everybody knows farming is a dirty job and to be sure FANR is counting on many of you to want to do it. Reporting for News 5, I am Janelle Chanona.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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