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Ministry of Agriculture busy helping with backyard gardens, greenhouses

Posted: Monday, January 17, 2022. 6:59 pm CST.

Photo Credit: MAFSE

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise (MAFSE) has been quite busy lately helping with backyard gardens and greenhouses in the Belize District.

“The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise is happy and proud to assist community organizations like Days of Healing on Vernon Street with these initiatives,” said MAFSE.

MAFSE’s Horticulture Unit Coordinator Gary Ramirez and his crew have been at the forefront setting up the greenhouse and facilitating seedlings for people like Perry ‘Stikz’ Smith of Days of Healing on Vernon Street in Belize City and David Almendarez and his planting project in Hattieville.

“The Southside Belize City urban gardens initiative resulted from a conversation between Minister Mai and area rep Minister Cordel Hyde and so Days of Healing pitched an idea for an urban garden area for him to engage young people, which is part of what he does,” said Ramirez.

Minister Jose Abelardo Mai said he is satisfied with the outreach programme.

“It is going well. I think we have raised awareness on the importance of food sovereignty. We have raised awareness of reducing the cost of food to put on the table. I think we have raised the awareness that when you produce your own food, it’s like printing your own money,” Minister Mai said.

The project with Days of Healing started in early December of 2021 when the Minister visited the Smith in Belize City’s Southside. Ramirez said they built a covered-structure unit and provided Days of Healing with vegetable seedlings.

Planting was done on December 2 and the leaf lettuce and peppers grew well.

“Days of Healing is an organization run by Mr. Perry ‘Stikz’ Smith dedicated to finding alternative lifestyles to violence and crime for young people,” said MAFSE.

Ramirez said that a month later, the seedlings are growing healthy and well in their greenhouse, and that they are being tended by the young people of the area.

“With initiatives like this, citizens in urban areas can grow their own vegetables for personal consumption or for income generation,” said MAFSE.

A similar project was established in Hattieville at the David Almendarez Planting Project which has already planted twice, said Ramirez.

According to MAFSE, Almendarez advocated for support for growing vegetables as a means of income generation for tour guides affected by loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Almendarez lobbied Minister Mai and received support from the Ministry for a greenhouse and seedlings, which were made available through a third party, and we are also happy to report they are doing well,” said MAFSE.

In Hattieville, Almendarez and the tour guides grew a diversity of crops such as tomatoes, sweet pepper, jalapeños, cilantro, and cabbage during the second round of planting. The first time around they only planted sweet pepper.

Ramirez said Almendarez and https://transparentpharmacy.net company were able to sell their products.

But the assistance MAFSE is providing goes beyond those two projects according to Minister Mai.

“I think people are very much interested in it. We are getting calls every day for greenhouses,” said Minister Mai.

“They want help. The Belize City Council has approached us now for us to help them establish their backyard gardens and their greenhouses. So, we are working on that. In Belmopan, Comprehensive High School has asked us to help them install their greenhouses.”


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