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Ministry of Agriculture technical staff attend three-day Soybean Virtual Training Program

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Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2022. 11:57 am CST.

Photo Credit: MAFSE

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Ministry of Agriculture technical personnel are attending a three-day Soybean Virtual Training Program, said the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise (MAFSE) in a social media release.

MAFSE said the training is being conducted by technical experts from Mexico’s National Research Institute of Forestry, Agriculture and Livestock (INIFAP).

“The General Objective of the training is to know the technological components of soybeans; as well as the seven innovated varieties from INIFAP in this crop, with the aim to maximize yields in Belize,” said MAFSE.

“The training course will cover the situation of soybean cultivation in Mexico and in the Yucatan Peninsula. The course will also cover the different environments in soybean production including the technological components involved in the soybean production for yield optimization.”

The training comes at a time when Belize is approaching self-sufficiency in soybean and soybean meal/concentrate for the first time ever according to sources at the Ministry of Agriculture.

At present, Belize has 35.2 million pounds of soybean in stock and with the current production rate those numbers are expected to rise.

“Soybean is one of the richest and cheapest sources of protein and is a staple in the diets of people and animals in numerous parts of the world. The seed contains 17 percent oil and 63 percent meal, 50 percent of which is protein,” said MAFSE in April when past Chief Agriculture Officer Andrew Harrison along with Dr. Victoriano Pascual, who replaced him in that position, were meeting with the Soybean Task Force working group in Blue Creek.

At a time when the Government of Belize has been pushing for more agricultural production, the soybean industry is at the forefront of food security. Prior to now, Belize has had to import soybean to mix with local corn and sorghum for animal feed. But with a vast amount of soybean and 65.3 million pounds of corn, much of which is mixed with soybean for animal feed, food security is looking good.

“The soybean industry is important for food security on a long-term basis,” said Prime Minister John Briceño in early April as he joined Agriculture Minister Jose Abelardo Mai and the owners of Quality Feed Mill (QFM) in Spanish Lookout at the groundbreaking for a new $8million Quality Vegetable Oil Refinery. Additionally, another soybean plant is to be opened in the Orange Walk District, MAFSE said.

“I welcome the opportunity for our soybean industry to support local market demand and afford Belize greater import substitution,” added the Prime Minister.

Last year, Belize produced 40 million pounds of soybean from 28,000 acres. This increased soybean production has reduced the importation of soybean concentrates and animal feed to less than $10 million per year, said MAFSE.

Production is expected to increase to 40,000 acres which would produce just under 60 million pounds of soybean this year. And since MAFSE has been talking about an improved production rate per acre, production might even be more.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise said it expects Belize to soon become self-sufficient in soybean, soybean meal/concentrate, and soybean oil. And the present soybean training, with the assistance of Mexico’s INIFAP, should only help in this regard.

 

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