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Ministry of Agriculture receives four containers for cold storage from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

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Posted: Thursday, January 20, 2022. 4:41 pm CST.

Photo Credit: MAFSE

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise (MAFSE) has received four containers for cold storage from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and will soon be retrofitting them.

The cold storage containers are expected to be a solution for extending the postharvest shelf life of vegetables, said MAFSE.

“The containers are at the livestock section of the Ministry right now, where prepping and retro-fitting will take place and they will later be distributed to the vegetable growing areas of Corozal, Orange Walk, Belize, and Cayo, where issues relating to storage of onions and potatoes need resolving,” said MAFSE in a social media post on Thursday.

MAFSE said that assisting farmers with post-harvest crop management is part of the Ministry’s mandate. To that end, they are working on ensuring food sovereignty and minimizing wastage.

In December 2021, Belize signed an agreement with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency for the development of agriculture cooperatives, improvements in management capacity to support the Cold Storage JICA Project, and in support of the Ministry of Agriculture initiatives.

The agreement with JICA provided for the four 40-foot containers which MAFSE is now about to retrofit and send to four districts previously mentioned.

According to Luis Pook, MAFSE Communications Director, the containers will be “used as cold storage units for post-harvest crop management particularly with potatoes and onions”.

Pook said the farmers will be given training on how to store their products.

“The farmers groups who will be chosen to benefit from the 40-foot containers storage will be those that are cooperatives already like the New River Farmers Cooperative in San Carlos, Orange Walk. They are already active, they are producing and have a need for such technology because they produce crops like carrots, onions, and potatoes,” Pook noted.

The JICA project was valued at $186,000 of which the Government of Belize is to support 15% in technical assistance.

 

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