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Sep 30, 2008

UB launches Agriculture Degree programme

Story PictureIt is usual that you hear of degrees in Business and Social Sciences, Arts and Education and Sciences as the programmes that are offered by the University of Belize. But due to a growing interest for studies in Agriculture, the University of Belize took a bold step and introduced a new programme to satisfy this thirst in an area that is a key revenue earner of the economy. With the blessing of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Cooperatives, UB launched its Associates degree programme in Sustainable Agriculture at their Central Farm Campus. Duane Moody reports.

Dr. Angel Cal, Provost, University of Belize
“Our programme has four major components. Our graduates will leave us with agricultural competencies and skills in knowledge and practical applications in the field, in management of resources in the field and in entrepreneurship within the context of sound business principles and practices.”

Duane Moody, Reporting
If you have an interest in subsistence farming, the Sustainable Agriculture Program at the University of Belize will provide that certificate. The programme has been developed to suit the particular needs of Belize and according to Dr. Mahung, this was something he needed to do when he assumed his role as president.

Dr. Santos Mahung, President, University of Belize
“In essence, with the amalgamation of the Belize College of Agriculture within the University of Belize structure, the programme was transferred to Belmopan and placed within the faculty of Science and technology. We, I think lost in many ways, our focus on agriculture that it became, in essence, a programme which it had a few agriculture course added on to what was primarily a science programme. And with the loss of that focus, I think the program did not address the needs of the people within the programme. The second thing of course, it was transferred to Belmopan and that created two problems. One of course, was we also did not pay attention to Central Farm as a site, especially a site to provide the field experiences related to our academic programme. When I came on, it was one of the first issues that I thought that I should address and so what we’re saying today, as I said, is a newly a reconstructed, reconstituted programme in agriculture, sustainable agriculture.”

The program has enlisted twenty-eight students who will have a hands-on experience. Lessons in Agro forestry, Rotary composting, monitoring of a mini Met Station, Production Plots and Agro-processing are all combined in the programme.

Romaldo Lewis, Head, UB’s Production Unit, Central Farm Campus
“My major role consists in the planning of technical activities that have to do with agriculture., with technologies being incorporated, for example we have an irrigation system here which is a drip irrigation. These types of measurement are being designed to rationalise the use of water and direct the concerns of water—where it should go.”

David Borland, 2nd Year Student, Agric. Program, UB
“Basically, this institution now with the Sustainable agriculture, I think that’s the future. I know a lot about agriculture—I know about the mechanical stage of agriculture, but the sustainable agriculture is the way to go. With this new knowledge I can combine with the mechanical and I can see that there will be something beautiful in agricultural fields.”

Miguel Rodriguez, 1st Year Student, Sustainable Agric. Program, UB
“Well, right now we are doing the rotary compost over that side. We inject different animals for different purposes like for worming. We do palpation of animal, pregnancy testing on cows. That’s what we’ve immediately been doing here. We do a lot of different stuff here.”

The Agricultural Unit of the Government of Taiwan is located adjacent to the university and it is here that agro-processing will occur for fruits and vegetables. Duane Moody reporting for News Five.

The university is projecting an anticipated increase in enrolment of students in the program and thereafter will offer a Bachelors Degree in the programme.

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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