Posted: Tuesday, July 19, 2022. 7:41 pm CST.
Photo Credit: MAFSE
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Just last week the Sayab Farmers Group of San Antonio in the Cayo District had its last training session and this coming Friday they will be registered as the newest cooperative in Belize.
According to the Belize Department of Co-operatives, under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise, the Sayab Farmers Group is now ready to be accepted into the national cooperatives network.
Like all other cooperatives, the Sayab Farmers Group have had to undergo eight training sessions which is one of the requirements to become a cooperative under the Department of Co-operatives.
The registration will be conducted at the Sayab Farms on Friday at 10:00 a.m., according to Registrar of Cooperatives Gareth Murillo.
“Their membership consists of women, young people, and male farmers,” said Luis Pook, the Communications Director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise.
“They farm using greenhouses. They have six covered structures where they have a variety of different vegetables. They have lettuce, cabbages, carrots, sweet peppers, and herbs. They make sorrel wine. They do packaging of their products and are looking into having their own labels.”
Pook said that when farmer groups organize themselves as a cooperative, they have more advantages than just being farmer groups.
“When you show that you are using the technical assistance being offered to you, it’s easier to access funds from international organizations and it’s easier for you to get assistance and guidance that normally you wouldn’t get,” said Pook.
“Access to funding and projects is very important for these people because that’s probably the only way that they’re probably going to be growing up in the future.”
Pook said he was told by the Sayab Farmers Group that in the past before the COVID-19 pandemic, they would sell produce to San Pedro, Belize City, and resorts in the South.
“They have linkages with several resorts that buy their produce directly from them,” Pook said.
What impressed Pook was that the Sayab Farms were already making value-added products such as wines and sauces. These were primarily for local consumption in San Antonio, but the idea was to grow their market.
So, now that the Sayab Farms are going to become a cooperative, they’ll be able to better market their products.
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