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Leaf lettuce grows well in Belize, says Gary Ramirez – Horticulture Unit Coordinator at Ministry of Agriculture

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Posted: Tuesday, February 1, 2022. 6:07 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: “We do well with leaf lettuce. Our challenge in Belize is growing head lettuce,” said Gary Ramirez, Horticulture Unit Coordinator at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise (MAFSE).

Ramirez said that Belize grows good quality leaf lettuce, but people tend to prefer head lettuce because they feel it’s better just because they are accustomed to it.

But leaf lettuce grows better in Belize.

“We grow four or five different varieties of leaf lettuce. And that can be grown all year round. We don’t have any major concerns with it,” said Ramirez.

Ramirez said that farmers are even growing red lettuce now.

“We got our hands on some seeds last year, so we’ve been promoting that variety since,” he said.

“Head lettuce there’s only about two varieties. Head lettuce is grown in the Cayo District from La Gracia to Valley of Peace, Springfield, Upper and Lower Barton Creek.”

Ramirez said people tend to prefer head lettuce because they feel it’s better just because they have been accustomed to the lettuce imported from Mexico.

“There’s a lot of misconception with it. People tend to equate the quality of lettuce with what is wrapped up in that ‘iceberg’ bag that comes from Mexico,” Ramirez said.

“It’s just that most Belizeans, like with everything else, you get this fancy iceberg lettuce that comes from abroad … (but) I know people that are perfectly fine with their leaf lettuce.

“What a lot of people do not realize is that those ‘icebergs’ are grown in Mexico, but very close to the southern United States border around Tijuana. So, it’s grown in rather temperate areas, cold areas.”

Despite the challenges, farmers do grow head lettuce in Belize.

“We are at the time of the year when we should be able to do well with head lettuce. They are considered cold crops. Planting them in November, December, January, we’ll get a better-quality crop. If it gets extremely hot like during the dry season then the farmers would have major issues,” Ramirez concluded.

 

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