Posted: Thursday, March 17, 2022. 9:47 am CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise (MAFSE) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on Wednesday handed over four 40-foot cold storage units to cooperatives farmers at Indian Creek Community in Orange Walk.
The containers are part of the Development of Agricultural Cooperatives and the Improvement of its Management Capacity Project that MAFSE is conducting with the assistance and funding from JICA.
“The successful event comes from the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Belize and the Japan International Cooperation Agency,” said MAFSE in a statement posted on social media.
“The project is supporting 4 (40 foot) cold storage units to be used in the post-harvest storage of vegetables in the districts of Corozal, Orange Walk, Belize, and Cayo. The cost of the project is valued at a total of $186,000 of which 15% will be supported by the Ministry of Agriculture in technical assistance,” MAFSE added.
According to the Agriculture Ministry, the project looks to increase onion and potato productivity and quality. The cool storage units should extend storage capacity for four additional months after harvest. It is expected the cool storage should reduce food loss and waste thereby increasing the income farmers can generate from their harvests.
Japan’s Ambassador to Belize, Kazuhiro Iryu said the Government of Japan is pleased to assist Belize in achieving its food sovereignty goals and in helping the agriculture community in enhancing its productivity.
MAFSE Minister Jose Abelardo Mai reiterated that this is another achievement of the 𝘗𝘭𝘢𝘯 𝘉𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘻𝘦 manifesto through which the Government committed to ensuring food sovereignty and investment in the development of new products from by-products and waste at the local levels by value-adding and using processing technologies. Minister Mai also thanked the JICA personnel and the Government and people of Japan for their collaboration with the project.
MAFSE said that after the handing over ceremony and signing of agreements with the cooperatives that received the cold storage units, the guests and officials inspected the cold storage facilities.
The Ministry noted that the San Carlos cold storage unit is being temporarily located at Indian Creek while San Carlos receives electrification. When this happens, the container will be relocated to San Carlos.
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