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Sep 27, 2022

Climate Smart Agriculture Research Focused on Tomato Production

The Ministry of Economic Development and Resilient Rural Belize paid a visit to the University of Belize Central Farm Campus on Monday to evaluate the progress of an M.O.U. signed back in April. At the time, the Government of Belize, the International Funding for Agricultural Development and the Green Climate Fund, through Resilient Rural Belize, invested one hundred thousand dollars in a climate smart agriculture initiative. The project is focused on food security and research, specifically where the production of tomatoes is concerned.  News Five’s Paul Lopez tells us more about the research and the visit, with some help from G.O.B. Press Office.


Dr. Osmond Martinez

Dr. Osmond Martinez, C.E.O., Economic Development

“I want to say that I am excited to see that the signing of the M.O.U. is becoming a reality. Today we got an opportunity to look at the infrastructure of the cover structure and also the nurseries which is the main objective, or the outcome that is being expected from the M.O.U. with the University of Belize, is to look at the different variety of tomatoes, which one will work well using the cover structures system and most important which one will adapt well to our current climate change impact we have in Belize.”


This visit was organized to assess the progress of a joint research effort involving tomato production using cover structures. In April 2022, the Ministry of Economic Development, Resilient Rural Belize, and the University of Belize signed an M.O.U. to evaluate the performance of several varieties of tomatoes, for mass production, under covered structures.  One hundred thousand dollars in funding was provided to undertake the research at the University of Belize Central Farm Campus. We heard from Doctor Vincent Palacio the President at the UB.


Vincent Palacio

Dr. Vincent Palacio, President University of Belize

“We have made excellent progress as you saw in the tour. We have an excellent structure, actually the biggest around. We saw where the seedlings are. We have identified eight different types of species of tomatoes that we conducting testing on to see what grows the best in the environment that we have. So, it is a very interesting time for us here at UB, particularly for the students, because they are a part of this initiative as well. They will be the ones to go out to spread the word that x tomato species grows best in what temperature and what condition etc.”

The project also has a community outreach component. At the end of the study, farmers from across Belize will be given access to the research findings, for them to hopefully replicate these practices on their farms. Geraldo Aldana, the Climate Smart Agriculture Lecturer at the University of Belize is spearheading the research.


Geraldo Aldana

Dr. Geraldo Aldana, Climate Smart Agriculture Lecturer, U.B.

“These are what they call indeterminate varieties. So, they produce for seven months and they grow like vines rather than the bushes. So, these are larger, they call it beef type tomatoes. They are very large. They are like almost half kilograms in width. We are looking at days to first flowering. We are looking at the weight, the physical aspects of the tomato and also the consumers’ perspectives of each tomato. We are studying from germination all the way to harvest so in each stage we will record the performance of each variety and will compare to see which one is more successful in the end.”


The research will also determine the feasibility of cover structure approach for farmers. While the current research is focused on tomato production, further research will look at other produces such as onions and sweet pepper.


Osmond Martinez

“Tomato is one of the fruits that are being produced very well in Belize. Our climate lends itself to it. However it is seasonal. Another product is sweet pepper. But what we are trying to do is to narrow it down to one product. Presently we are working with tomatoes but our hope is to expand the research into sweet pepper. Maybe we can look at onions, different products. But, tomato is one that lends itself. It has high consumption in Belize. It also has a high importation yearly. So if we can reduce the amount of tomatoes we import yearly that will impact our G.D.P. growth.”


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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