Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2022. 6:00 pm CST.
Photo Credit: MAFSE
By Rubén Morales Iglesias:
“They plant a variety of vegetables. They plant lettuce, cabbage, carrots, a whole variety of different things really, said Luis Pook, Communications Director at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise (MAFSE) in speaking about the San Antonio Maya Green Growers Cooperative.
“They plant them in open fields, and they plant using covered structures or greenhouses as most people call them.”
Pook said the Maya Green Growers are organized at a higher level than some of the other cooperatives and groups in the region.
“They have their own carrot washer,” he said.
“They were recently also beneficiaries of a matching grant fund agreement with Resilient Rural Belize (RRB). RRB is a program under the Ministry of Economic Development and under the Ministry of Agriculture and through that program farmers of rural areas get access to projects, to funding.
“In the case of Maya Green Growers, they’re going to have access to about $200,000. They’re going to use their funds in part, to build a headquarters office for the cooperative. That’s what the agreement that they signed was about,” Pook said.
The San Antonio Maya Green Growers is a very active cooperative, according to Pook. He said the individual members have their own plots of land and they meet to decide who is going to plant what vegetables and when.
“Their produce is marketed locally in San Antonio and at the San Ignacio Farmers Market and they also sell to hotels and restaurants in the area, as well as in the South, resorts in Stann Creek and Toledo,” said Pook.
Pook visited the cooperative in San Antonio recently with representatives of the Cooperative and Extension Departments. He said those visits are a part of their new policy direction whereby MAFSE ensures that they work closer with the farmer groups and the community.
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