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May 24, 2022

Junior Farmer of the Year: Darwin Orellana

Nineteen-year-old Darwin Orellana from Maskall Village is the Junior Farmer of the Year. He joins a growing list of relatives who have also won the title. We visited Darwin at his family’s onion storage facility in Belize District where we spoke with him and his cousin Freddy Orellana, the 2018 Junior Farmer of the year. Both young men share a passion for farming, a love that runs through generations of the family. Of recent, Freddy has been passing down his knowledge to his younger cousin Darwin. News Five’s Paul Lopez reports.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

Darwin Orellana and Freddy Orellana are cousins. Together, they work with their fathers to manage acres of farmland in Maskall Village. Freddy began working on the farm nine years ago, after dropping out of high school. Darwin began three years ago, at the age of sixteen. And recently, Darwin Orellana was beside himself with joy to learn that he was selected by the Ministry of Agriculture, as the Junior Farmer of the Year.


Darwin Orellana

Darwin Orellana, Junior Farmer of the Year

 “I am a member of the Bomba United Farmers Cooperative. It has nineteen members. The cooperative is made of three groups. The group I belong to have five members.”


Over the last few months, Darwin has been workingin an administrative roll on the farm, overseeing fourteen acres of onions.Part of his job includes monitoring the crops for any threats from diseases and then responding accordingly.


Darwin Orellana, Junior Farmer of the Year

“Supervision of the disease or the pest so that the chemicals can be a applied to counter attack the pest. We will talk about a disease that attacks the onions most countrywide is the downy mildew. It is a disease when the season is foggy it attacks the onion and it becomes easy to dry. It eats the onion, dries the onion. Eventually it gets to the mud and rotten.”


Darwin has also been handling the record keeping aspect of this family operation. He knows the cost of production, taking into account all investments. He also sets the price of their product based on that production cost.


Darwin Orellana, Junior Farmer of the Year

“I have been working on the farm approximately three years now. From then I try to keep everything written, so at the end of the day I know how much I invested and how much I receive as well. For example as I told you, the fertilizers. So, I need to know cost of the pound of the onion so that I know what my cost is. That determines the price I am going to sell it.”


It is all in a day’s work for Darwin. It is a labor of love. Workers are not paid until the season’s harvest has been sold out. The lasttime Darwin and Freddy received a salaryit was in August of 2021. They must make that sum last until the next pay day, which will come later this year. But for Darwin the investment is worthwhile, and he does not see his job as work for school dropouts.


Darwin Orellana, Junior Farmer of the Year

That’s worldwide about farming. People say you know don’t want to study or something there is no other way out but farming. That is a bad impression. Farming is you know, without the farmers you don’t have your veggies. You don’t have your food and everything else. So yeah, we need to farm like a lifestyle.”


Freddy Orellana, the senior among them, told us about the importance of passing down his knowledge to his cousin Darwin.


Freddy Orellana

Freddy Orellana, Farmer

“Actually this year that, this season which is twenty, twenty-one to twenty, twenty-two we granted the opportunity to Darwin so that he can administrate the farm. But it is not only administration, he has to learn and in the future when he takes over from us it will be two groups so he has to learn and make sure he has the right knowledge farming.”


Paul Lopez

“For you has it made your life easier?’


Freddy Orellana, Farmer

“Of course, yes, yes, a lot of stress went off. His administration doesn’t require something you know. It is something you have to defeat. You don’t exactly know what is the problem that is coming in the farm and you have to look for the right solution for it.”


Darwin Orellana will be receiving an award at the National Agriculture and Trade Show over the weekend in Belmopan, along with the female farmer of the year and the senior farmers of the year.


Darwin Orellana

“When I was selected as being farmer of the year, it was something that I didn’t expect because there are a lot of other young men competing for this. So when I hear the newsI was like wow, I couldn’t respond to it. I am thankful to the Department of Agriculture that selected me to be youth farmer of the year.”


Reporting for News Five I am Paul Lopez.

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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