By BBN Staff: An agro-forestry pilot project to organically grow cacao is helping 200 villagers from Trio Village in the Toledo district adapt to Climate Change, with US $250,000 in funding from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) program.
They are farming 960 acres within the Maya Mountain Forest Reserve with 30,000 cacao saplings. The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) has been funding the Trio Village initiative for the past two years through the DFID. It has also provided technical assistance and training for climate resilient crops.
Dr. Mark Bynoe, head of the CCCCC’s Project Development & Management Unit, said the Centre had stepped in to help the villagers who were challenged by forest fires caused by the drought from climate change. The villagers had first approached the Ya’Axche Conservation Trust for help, who then turned to CCCCC for assistance to find funding.
The Forest Department addressed the villagers’ need for land by a unique dispensation to establish the agro-forestry project within the Reserve, and CCCCC donated the cacao seedlings. The 936 acres were divided into plots, not just for cacao, but also for vegetables, plantain and bee hives for honey.
Ten of the farmers in the newly formed Trio Farmers Cacao Association are women, some of whom are also involved in beekeeping. Bynoe said CCCCC is engaged in a number of adaptation initiatives, and the success of the cacao farming project could be translated to other areas of Belize and the Caribbean.
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