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Apr 24, 2019

Meet Dan Lopez, the Male Farmer of the Year

Dan Lopez

The male farmer of the year is Dan Isai Lopez of San Antonio village in the Cayo District. Lopez says he comes from a family of farmers and ever since he was a young boy, he wanted to have his own farm. Well, about twelve years ago that dream became a reality. Today, he has cultivated over ten acres of his farm with fruit trees and vegetable crops and has since expanded into the cattle business. Reporter Andrea Polanco went to Lopez’s farm to find out more about how he won the Farmer of the Year 2019 title. Here’s the story:

 

Dan Lopez, Farmer of the Year

“Since I was small, I used to see my dad work on the farm and it is something I like.”

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

…and twenty-eight-year-old Dan Lopez turned that interest into his source of livelihood. And after he put in the work for the past twelve years, he has been named the Male Farmer of the Year. He is the owner of Poso Maya Farm in San Antonio Village in Cayo. He is using twelve of his sixty acres of land to plant crops and raise livestock. He studied for one year after primary school – and it took him three years to figure out his calling. Today, he says that his farm provides for his family and gives him the independence and freedom to work for himself.

 

Dan Lopez

“It is very nice because I am my own boss. I can do things as my down decisions; my own responsibility.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“From your farming, that is how you take care of your family? That is your only source of income?”

 

Dan Lopez

“Right. We survive from the farm. One hundred percent we depend on the farm.”

 

Lopez plants a variety of fruits and vegetables from plantains to watermelons and avocados – most of which are sold off and retailed at markets in western Belize. While he started out small – he says that hasn’t stopped him from trying different methods on his farm. He constructed two greenhouses to grow chemical free and healthy crops like sweet-peppers.

 

Dan Lopez

“Here we plant different kinds of vegetables; carrots; sweet pepper, watermelon; cilantro; all those things; potatoes. The greenhouse is a little expensive to build a greenhouse but it is very nice because if you plant on the outside you might have to use chemicals and all those stuff. In the greenhouse you don’t have to use chemicals unless if it is needed, but most of the times the plants grow really good in there. It helps too because in the rainy season plants in the outside catch blithe but in the greenhouse it is well protected.”

 

But Lopez says that to have a successful farm takes a lot of work. He says that changing weather patterns create a real challenge for farmers.  There are times he’d plant and he would have no guarantee that he will harvest any crops.

 

Dan Lopez

“It is not so easy, for example, sometimes you plant and you just have to have faith that you will harvest. But sometimes it doesn’t go like that. Sometimes the rain affects and sometimes the dry season affects it.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, sometimes it is a real gamble; you don’t know if it will pay off?”

 

Dan Lopez

“Yes, that is right. That’s right. You don’t know if it will pay off but you have to keep trying and trying and never give up, yeah.”

 

The farmer of the year has accomplished a lot – he has other big plans for Poso Maya Farm – including sharing his knowledge with young people.

 

Dan Lopez

“Grow more; plant bigger amounts and give some help to the youth who come out from high school and maybe they can’t find a job. So, you can give them a try at farming; they can help out on the farm to know what life is on a farm and you could give them a job.”

 

It is a proud day for the Male Farmer of the Year. He competed before but didn’t win the title – and he says he had to put in the work to earn the top spot.

 

Dan Lopez

“I am really happy and proud to be a winner.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Is it something you were expecting?”

 

Dan Lopez

“Well, that is what I was trying for and so it was something nice for me.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Tell me more about what it takes to be the farmer of the year; what you had to do to be the farmer of the year?”

 

Dan Lopez

“Well, I work really hard and try to do my best to have some really nice vegetables because the competition is really challenging.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

 

In Thursday’s newscast we’ll take you to Paradise Farm in Selena Village to meet the Female Farmer of the Year.


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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