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Feb 20, 2019

Does the Lands Department Care about Trio’s Cacao Farmers?

It has been three years since the Ya’axche Conservation Trust has been attempting to get the attention of the Lands Department to address the serious issues plaguing the Trio Farmers Cacao Growers Association. According to its executive director, the illegal activities near the reserve have been threatening their livelihood. Christina Garcia says that they have presented a land use plan to the department, but have yet to receive a response.


Christina Garcia, Executive Director, Ya’axche Conservation Trust

“Minister Figueroa is well aware of the situation. Forest Department is well aware of the situation. They have come here several times to visit the area but still Ya’axche has not seen any move in terms of doing something about this.”



“Is there any paper trail? Have you written?”


Christina Garcia

Christina Garcia

“We have written. We have called. We have managed to set up meeting. We have written to various people, Commissioner Vallejos. We have written several times to them. We have presented to the past Minister, Carla Barnett. We presented to the C.E.O. Sharon Ramclam on the situation. We presented the land use plan for the area but we haven’t received any response. Like I said it is something that we have been battling for the past three years. I don’t think that the fact that the area is in a rugged terrain affects their capability. It is just a matter of coming down to have a meeting and settle the matter. We have extended an invitation to have a meeting. We have even gone to the extent to say that we will facilitate such a meeting so that the issue is resolve but they have not even considered that.”


Hipolito Novelo   

“Is it a lack of interest by the Government or a lack of understanding the importance of this issue here?”


Christina Garcia

“I think it is a lack of understanding because this is a forest reserve if you are not here on the ground to actually see what is happening; it is very difficult to comprehend why this area is so important. So I think it is a combination of not really understanding that this area is a priority and it is very necessary for them to do something about it.”


Hipolito Novelo

“How soon should they do something about it?”


Christina Garcia

“Very, very soon because like I said production has been increasing within the agro-forestry concession. We have seen an increase in terms of the fencing of the area. We have seen increase in terms of the clearances happening in the area. So there must be some level of control placed. If not we will definitely lose this forest reserve. There is so much potential because there are direct livelihoods for the Trio Farmers Cacao Growers Association. We can see the wildlife coming back into the area. We can see scarlet macaws, the jaguars coming back in the area. So it is something that is urgently needed.”

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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