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Jun 15, 2023

Sembrando Vida Belize is Officially Launched

Today at the Ministry of Agriculture Station in Orange Walk District, the Sembrando Vida Belize Project was officially launched. The steps to get to this point began back in May of 2022, when an agreement was struck between Belize and Mexico during a state visit of the president.  The project was piloted in Mexico four years ago and now the goal is to replicate it in Belize, ensuring food security. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Food security is a worldwide issue and it took center stage at today’s event in Yo Creek. Sembrando Vida Belize is an initiative that is being brought to Belize by the Mexican Government, following a visit by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador back in May 2022. Fast-forward to today, two thousand small farmers from across the country are benefiting from this multimillion-dollar project.


Laura Elena Carrillo Cubillas

Dr. Laura Elena Carrillo Cubillas, Executive Director, AMEXCID

“We started back home. Actually we have millions and millions of beneficiaries so we can say that our pilot program was back home and we’ve been working on it for four years now and President López Obrador wanted to share what we have learnt in this program with other countries such as Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador. But last year, he visited himself and so Prime Minister Johnny Briceño told him you know what, we should have Sembrando Vida here in Belize. And so the president told us here at AMEXCID to just go ahead and do it. We have two thousand beneficiaries by now. And it is so important because what we are trying to do is not only get together for a nice ceremony and then not see each other again forever, no, we do want to be here and you’re gonna be able to see that our team is going to be working close to the people. We want to share what we know and we want to make sure that everybody has a chance to develop in their own country; in their own land and that we can work together and be stronger. We need to be stronger as a region.”


Farmers were registered and adjustments made to consider the size of their farms, but the goal is to enrich the soil and make it more productive so that crops can be sold in the market. There was a symbolic handing over of bank cards and agricultural packages at the launch to beneficiaries of the project.


Jose Abelardo Mai

Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security & Enterprise

“Today what you saw was the first farmers getting their debit card for which the project will deposit in their account the monies that they will get monthly. But beside that, there are a lot of bio inputs that will be given to the farmers. I say bio inputs because Sembrando Vida focuses on environmentally friendly practices – moving away from chemical fertilizers and heavy strong agrochemicals and moving over to bio inputs is the focus of this program. Totally the project is about three million U.S. dollars, six million Belize dollars, which will be given in cash and in part inputs to the farmers.”


Prime Minister John Briceño was on the agenda to issue remarks at today’s launch, but he was notably absent. His wife, the Special Envoy for the Development of Families and Children, Rossana Briceño was present and speaks to the inclusivity of women and youth in the program.


Rossana Briceño

Rossana Briceño, Special Envoy for the Development of Families & Children

“We have to ensure that our Belizean farmers have when they produce the excess is not thrown away as we have heard harrow stories that we’ve seen and heard that they have to throw away onions, they have to throw away carrots and things like that. So I think that with this program, with the excess, they will have an opportunity to export. That’s what I gathered from this program and it is in several other Central American countries. With the incentives and the little stipend that they are getting, it will definitely go a long way. So I am excited for the farmers; I saw a lot of women farmers and that’s a good thing because we have to extend. It is not just stereotypical roles; women can get into farming too.”


Duane Moody 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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