By Aaron Humes: The “Sowing Life” program – “Sembrando Vida” in Spanish – is a signature program from President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
During his visit to Belize last week, Belize signed on with the program, a 3.4 billion-US dollar tree-planting plan that is contemplated to address poverty and inequality in the rural areas of Mexico.
Under the program, some 400 thousand farmers are paid about 4,500 pesos – 213 US dollars – a month to plant trees. Those trees and plants are supposed to restore over 1 million hectares of Mexican land that was degraded by deforestation.
But how does it aid 2,000 Belizean farmers? Here’s how Minister of Agriculture Jose Mai explained it in the House of Representatives on Friday: “The project aims to increase farmers’ production levels to incentivize the consumption of locally produced foods, to incentivize income generation through the marketing of locally produced commodities, to diversify the agriculture base, to broaden knowledge in organic production, to improve technology in agricultural production, and overall, to contribute to food security and job creation, to conserving natural resources and mitigating vulnerabilities to climate change. … It is our calculation that the total sum of this project could be as much as $10 million, all for small farmers and to be managed and administered by the Ministry of Agriculture with Mexican counterparts.”
However, there are news reports suggesting that farmers actually cut down more trees to get farm land, accelerating Mexican deforestation.