Posted: Wednesday, December 8, 2021. 1:47 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The New River Farmers’ Cooperative Society Ltd. signed an individual Matching Grant Fund Agreement valued at over $250,000 with the Government of Belize on December 2, according to a statement by the Government of Belize Press Office.
“From farm to family table … Belizean farmers feed the nation,” posted Prime Minister John Briceño on social media. “Revitalizing our agro producing sector and building our economy through strong support in financing and technical assistance for our farmers.”
The signing was done in San Carlos Village in Orange Walk District, home to the New River Farmers’ Cooperative.
The Matching Grant Funds (MGF) are part of Resilient Rural Belize (RRB), a six-year programme, financed with BZ$40 million from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and participating beneficiaries. The programme is aimed at minimizing the impacts of climatic and economic events on small farmers while supporting sustainable market access for their produce.
The agreement between the Government of Belize and the New River Farmers’ Co-operative Society Limited is valued at BZ$255,530.
The Matching Grants Fund should provide support to the members of the co-operative to become more economically, socially, and environmentally resilient by working cooperatively.
The MGF should have a direct positive impact on 29 households representing the 39 members of the co-operative, that’s 26 men, 5 women, and 8 youths (6 males and 2 females). The total number of final beneficiaries of this investment is estimated to be 136 persons, including 41 women and 30 youths.
The New River cooperative plans to build an office, and storage, and marketing center in San Carlos. It also plans on hiring a marketing and administrative officer to better serve customers and suppliers. The center is to “support members to receive, sort, store, and sell all the produce from a proposed 17 acres of onions and six acres of carrots to be cultivated both cooperatively and individually”.
The GOB Press Office said the New River Farmer Cooperative’s also plans on financing a capacity building plan to improve management, reduce chemical use, improve water management for irrigation, quality control, and enhance gender equity.
New River Farmers’ Co-operative Society Limited has been registered at the Department of Cooperatives since January 17, 1984.
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