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Apr 9, 2018

A Closer Look at Farming Operations in Maskall

On Friday, we took you to Maskall in the Belize District to see a group of city youths interacting with farmers. They learned much about what it takes to manage a modern farm or agricultural operation. But space considerations meant we couldn’t tell you much about the actual operations themselves. Tonight, we take a closer look at the techniques and new ideas being implemented by the farmers with the assistance of the Ministry of Agriculture. News Five’s Aaron Humes reports.

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

The owner of the Golden Grain Farm Limited, Victor Padilla, is halfway across the world, participating in a course on agricultural techniques in Japan. His wife Maria Magdalena is holding down the fort at home. But she doesn’t need to do much work – not with these state-of-the-art tropical greenhouses. The coverings cost a pretty penny, but with irrigation techniques the farm produces a bumper crop of sweet peppers, tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe and others which fetch good prices at the market.

 

Maria Magdalena Padilla

Maria Magdalena Padilla, Golden Grain Farm Limited [Translated]

“They want to take to the consumer something healthier, because inside there it’s protected by the Lumite, so it takes less pest, less disease. And they want to take something more healthier to the consumers out there.”

 

Just down the road, Rosa Calderon Garcia is settling into the main task of her day, gently massaging the specially treated milk drawn from these dual-purpose cows in her pasture into fresh white cheese. She learned the art of cheese-making from her mother-in-law fifteen years ago and took over after her marriage. This is how her day goes.

 

Rosa Calderon Garcia

Rosa Calderon Garcia, Cheese Maker [Translated]

“In the morning I do the cheese: she puts in the pills and everything; she strains it, and after she makes the cheese she tends to her family. And in the afternoon she would help her son feed the cows; as you know, she gives them concentrate because they need for them to make milk, if there’s no concentrate then they have to cut grass but that’s a routine: feeding the animals and making cheese.”

 

Calderon Garcia can make as much as one hundred and fifty pounds of cheese in a week and at four dollars per pound wholesale, five dollars retail at the market, it turns a tidy sum. It’s a bit harder for the Nago Bank Farmers Cooperative, who must rotate their tilling among eighteen members on large spreads. Right now, Chairman Alex Pineda is readying his tomatoes for the market. He says he is proud of what he is.

 

Alex Pineda

Alex Pineda, Chairman, Nago Bank Farmers Cooperative [Translated]

“This he know it from little boy: this was brought from generation to generation. So this is what he loves to do, he knows to do and he loves doing it, because he was brought up in this. His parents did it and his parents’ parents did it. This is the only thing he knows to do and he loves it.”

 

This is modern farming in Belize – opportunity in search of ingenuity. Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

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