Posted: Tuesday, March 22, 2022. 10:44 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: As part of the Resilient Rural Belize (RRB) program, farmers were trained in climate-smart crop and integrated pest management during 4 days of theoretical and practical workshop from March 14 to 17 at the University of Belize Central Farm Campus.
The program is assisting farmers to employ climate-resilient agricultural practices and technologies; integrate profitable smallholder participation into the development of select vegetable, fruit, and honey value chains; and support smallholder production capacity through investments in public and private climate-resilient infrastructure, and the strengthening of smallholder farmer producers’ organizations and relevant Government Departments.
The service of Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), was engaged to assist the program in strengthening the capacity of agricultural field officers and agriculture teachers in Belize. The long-term goal is to increase Belize’s agriculture sector’s resiliency to the negative effects of climate change. CATIE has developed for Belize and is delivering 5 certified modules geared towards Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA).
The training was facilitated by Arnoldo Avila from Costa Rica, with the assistance of the RRB Climate Officer, Alfred Serano.
Participants were able to learn and practice how to effectively utilize bio-inputs in the formulation of insecticides, fungicides and plant stimulants which can effectively improve yields while reducing costs. Products utilized in the training are all available locally within the farming communities. Considering the rising cost of goods globally and in Belize, which is now impacting our farmers with the increased cost of inputs, this training has come at an opportune time. It is expected that techniques learned will be utilized to teach and expose farmers and gardeners to the advantages of using bio-inputs in the production of their commodities.
The Climate Smart Crop and Integrated Pest Management training had 22 participants inclusive of Extension Officers from the Ministry of Agriculture, Resilient Rural Belize, Pesticide Control Board, Sugar Industry Research Institute, Bishop Martin High School, and the Development Finance Corporation.
The Government, through the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development, and Investment, with financing from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and counterpart funding from beneficiaries is aiming through the RRB program, which last six years, to minimize the impacts of climatic and economic events on smallholder farmers while supporting sustainable market access for their produce.
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