Posted: Thursday, March 17, 2022. 6:34 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: The Government of Belize (GOB) and the Los Buenos Amigos Co-operative Society Limited of Trio Village, Toledo District, signed a Matching Grant Fund Agreement this week, which is geared towards supporting small farmers and strengthening agriculture in southern Belize.
On Wednesday, the Los Buenos Amigos Co-operative and GOB held the official signing ceremony for the $337,453.00 project, which has the main objective of supporting co-financing investments that would improve small farmer agricultural production in both volume and quality as well as safeguarding food security in the context of the existing and projected effects of climate change.
“The funds will be used to build/enhance an office, storage and marketing centre in the community and the installation of an irrigation system including an industrial well. It will also support members with farming and other equipment to enable them to produce, market and sell their produce from a proposed 31.6 acres of pineapple to be cultivated by the Co-operative,” the parties to the agreement said in a joint statement. “In addition, the Matching Grant Fund Agreement will also finance a capacity building plan to improve management, reduce chemical use, improve water management for irrigation, quality control and enhance gender equity.”
GOB will also be providing separate funding to enhance two miles of road through its Resilient Rural Belize (RRB) Programme so that farmers can more efficiently and effectively bring their produce to the market.
Present at the signing were Mr. Julio Rivera – Chairman, Cooperativa de Los Buenos Amigos Co-operative Society Ltd, Mike Espat, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment (MED) and Area Representative, Ministers Oscar Requena and Rodwell Ferguson from the Southern Caucus, CEO Osmond Martinez of MED and CEO Servulo Baeza of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise.
The agreement forms a part of a larger collaboration involving the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and participating beneficiaries, for a six-year, $40 million programme aimed at minimizing the impacts of climatic and economic events on small farmers while supporting sustainable market access for their produce.
The programme will be implemented by the Programme Management Unit of the Be-Resilient Programme (PMU), acting through the Ministry of Economic Development (Lead Programme Agency) in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise, which has overall responsibility for programme implementation, including the administration and implementation of the Programme’s Matching Grant Fund.
Through the programme, Producers’ Organizations will have support for the development of business plans, which will identify proposed investments, including technical assistance and capacity building, aimed at achieving the above objectives. These plans will be used as the basis for accessing support from the Matching Grant Fund.
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