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May 21, 2015

FCD Issues Release on Guatemalan Milpas in Belize

And if you think this is the only issue with Guatemala, just ask the Friends For Conservation Development. They’ve been documenting the illegal activities inside the Chiquibul for years and it hasn’t slowed down. The FCD issued a release today about the Guatemalan milpas inside Belize. Majority are planted with corn, squash, beans and even have huts with caretakers- most are as far as a one and half kilometers inside and a few even as deep as four kilometers inside Belize. Today Executive Director Raphael Manzanero tells us just how much acres are under Guatemalan control inside Belize.


Raphael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD

Rafael Manzanero

“What we are seeing is basically the same trend that has been registered over the years. We, certainly from the report, are saying is that from the early 1980s, there has been an ongoing use of the land for farming and that hasn’t really stopped. What we have been able to document for this year, through our flights and on the ground recce, certainly the activity is still ongoing on the western part of the border with Chiquibul. In average, round the years of 2006 to 2011, there was an average of milpa being used of approximately five hundred acres in milpa. The one that was being documented last year and this year, there seems to be a decrease in that amount. But nevertheless, it is about three hundred acres that we are losing in the Chiquibul annually. We still have not really done for the moment a complete ground recce for the acreage. That is still a report that we have to do. However, the report indicates that there’s approximately some ninety to ninety two of the areas that are considered to be cleared. Clearing does not mean that there is milpa already in the zone. But we suspect that those areas are being cleared for milpa cultivation. One of the key strategies that was developed when we started to work in the Chiquibul is the establishment of a conservation post. …to address the milpa incursions.”

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