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Apr 13, 2023

Ministry of Agriculture Signs MoU for $91.4 Climate Resilient Project

The effects of climate change on farming communities will force the agro-productive sector to take on new methods and practices in farming. That is why the Ministry of Agriculture has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with four relevant departments for a Climate Resilient and Sustainable Agriculture Project. The project is intended to benefit more than seven thousand households and is made up of four components that include the institutional strengthening of six participating agencies. News Five’s Marion Ali was at the signing ceremony in Belmopan and filed this report.


Marion Ali, Reporting 

A Memorandum of Understanding for a climate resilient agriculture project, funded by the World Bank to the tune of fifty million dollars, an additional thirty six million in credit and five million coming from farmers, was signed this morning in Belmopan. The overall goal is for the development of a climate-s`mart method of farming, which will include assisting more than seven thousand households, primarily in the Belize, Cayo, Orange Walk and Corozal districts with technology. Sixteen million dollars will be allotted to a matching grants program intended to support farms to further strengthen their productive capacity. Project Coordinator, Roberto Harrison explained how farmers could qualify for financial support.


Roberto Harrison

Roberto Harrison, Project Coordinator, CRESAP

“The matching grant as it is in window one support up to a maximum of $12,000 to the beneficiary. In that case, if a farmer would or a beneficiary would get, or want to have that maximum matching grant, he would have to have an investment of 20,000 Belize dollars, of which $8,000 of that would have to be in the form of a loan or that the farmer could finance it himself. With that respect, we are engaged with participating financial institutions and all of the institutions in Belize we have discussed to promote the program for us. There’s a second window as we look at the large commercial farmers. There’s a racial 70 30 contribution there as well.”


Signing the MoU today were the heads of departments for the National Met Service, the University of Belize and the Belize Marketing Board, which will also benefit directly from the project.

Jose Abelardo Mai

Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture

“There will be active participants in the project. They’ll be providing services to the farmers and to the groups who will be benefiting from this project. With the climate change, this sector is being affected the most is our agriculture. And this project will intend to find ways to mitigate the effects of climate change. And there are different technologies that we use and so this project will provide the farmers with those services, so the whole strategy has to change. Should we continue drilling wells to tap into or sub-terrain aquifers, or should we use surface water for irrigation? And these are the questions that these are the activities that this project has to deal with. Stop using our chemicals. We have to use no bio inputs. So just look at bio fertilizers. Let us look at biological control of diseases and insects. And so these are the things that this project will, will focus on.”


Tying in with the impact on the terrain are weather conditions, as well as the ability to better detect weather conditions beforehand in order to prepare. To be in that position Chief Met Officer, Ronald Gordon explained that the National Met Service needs an upgrade.


Ronald Gordon

Ronald Gordon, Chief Meteorologist

“Climate is a significant factor affecting the production of productivity of farmers, so, we provide that order on climate information to assist farmers in planning properly and to take measures to protect their, um, their carbon. No. So in terms of this particular project, we are going to enhance that service. We have several components including training, capacity development, enhancement of our weather, observing network enhancement of our database where we collect data, and most importantly, in getting information to the farmers. We already have a lot of information that we produce, but the problems that we encounter sometimes is to getting that information to the farmers or to the community. So one of the important aspect will be the participatory integrated climate service for agriculture, which will be a EPISCA project for short, which will be developed as part of this project. It will certainly enhance our ability to go there develop products tailored to our agricultural community and to get us information along with the extension officers from the Ministry of Culture to the Farmers.”


The University of Belize has also been included as a part of the project on educating potential farmers on the new course that needs to be taken for climate-resilient farming. Marion Ali for News Five.

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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