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Beans plantations found inside Chiquibul; Guatemalan farmer arrested  

Posted: Sunday, February 25, 2018. 12:00 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: On Thursday, February 22, 2018, a joint patrol by rangers of Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD), members of the Belize Defence Force, and Special Patrol Unit of the Police Department met a Guatemalan man on a beans field in the Chiquibul National Park.

The man identified himself as Elfido Francisco Esteban Cano,28, from Laurel, Dolores, Guatemala.

Cano was cultivating beans, corn, and pumpkin for about a year in the south Cebada area of Belize along with other relatives.

His cultivation is located over 2 km inside Belize.

Cano was interviewed and said he was harvesting beans.

The beans patch where he was located, is about 1 km in extent. He added that this patch was planted by 10 or more persons from the community of San Marcos in Guatemala.

Cano reported that in Guatemala, a sack of beans is worth some 250 Quetzales (Bz$74.60), a sack of pumpkin seed is worth 250 Quetzales to 300 Quetzales (Bz$90.00), while a sack of corn is worth some 50 Quetzales (Bz$15.00).

The rangers also found a .22 rifle with three live rounds.

On Friday, February 23, 2018, Cano was handed over to San Ignacio Police Department to be charged by the relevant authorities.

It is interesting to note that the United States Fish and wildlife service is funding a two year project aimed at controlling the expansion of the agricultural frontier in the Chiquibul Forest.

In a 2017 FCD report, they noted that from 1984 to 2016 an accumulative area of 4,111.36 hectares has been deforested in Belize.

A comprehensive report of the last two years will be produced by FCD by mid 2018, after the dry season is over.

The increase in deforested areas from 2015 to 2016 occurred mainly in two areas, one being just north of the Caracol Archaeological Reserve and the other south of Caracol, in an area referred to as Cebada in the Chiquibul National Park.

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