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Ministry of Agriculture tracking ongoing floods, preparing help for farmers

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Posted: Friday, June 5, 2020. 8:21 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: The Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) is working with local farmers to learn the damage being caused by the ongoing floods in various parts of the country and is working to prepare support funding to aid in their recovery.

The rains that started last weekend, brought on by Tropical Storm Amanda in the Eastern Pacific Basin, brought flooding primarily to the Cayo District but also brought some flooding in northern Belize.

Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry, Jose Alpuche explained that vegetable production in the west was affected by the rains. The severe flooding in the Rio Hondo and Rio Bravo areas is expected to impact the production of rice and some grains. Sugarcane production in Orange Walk came to a complete stop this week due to the flood conditions
while cane production in Cayo also suffered problems.

“We cannot undertake a comprehensive assessment as yet because the event is ongoing, we still have rain,” Alpuche said.

He noted that the ministry has been in touch with farmers and asked them to begin compiling impact data and take pictures of the damage where possible so that when the ministry is finally able to do the assessment, it will take less time.

Alpuche notes that the flood underlines the need for “climate-smart agricultural adaptation,” and that the ministry is currently in negotiations with the World Bank on a $25 million project to assist Belizean farmers in that regard. He says that the hope is to have that project begin before the close of 2020 so that those funds would be available. He noted that the government of Belize, in its efforts to secure funding from International Funding Institutions (IFI) is looking to secure another $16 million for the agriculture sector to help cope with the impact of COVID-19.

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