Posted: Thursday, August 11, 2022. 4:42 pm CST.
Photo Courtesy of Minister Jose Abelardo Mai
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Minister of Agriculture Jose Abelardo Mai says he’s finalizing the details for the Ministry of Agriculture to purchase 18,000 disease tolerant and high-yielding coconut seeds from Brazil.
Minister Mai and a delegation from his Ministry and Belizean entrepreneurs are attending Brazil’s three-day National Coconut Fair (Fenacoco) which starts on Wednesday and ends on Friday in Fortaleza.
“In Belize, we have 18,000 acres of coconut at this time but that is not enough. We have five companies that are purchasing coconuts from producers. The setback in Belize has been the lack of good seeds,” Minister Mai told Breaking Belize News (BBN) in an exclusive interview from Fortaleza, Brazil.
“We need a hybrid that is resistant or tolerant to lethal yellowing disease and is high yielding, but we have not had enough of those seeds in Belize.”
Minister Mai said that if the private sector brings the seeds in, they are too expensive.
“Seeds have been sold in Belize for $15 and $20 per unit. No smaller farmer can afford to buy that,” he said.
“So, we have made contact in Brazil with the producers of seeds. We have sat down and looked at the numbers, looked at their growing conditions, all the diseases and the pests that they have.”
Minister Mai said that they are now working out the logistics for transporting the seeds to Belize.
“If we do this, we can import one forty-foot container with 18,000 seeds which if we plant them in triangular form, we can get up to 180 acres from that.
“We want to do this by November so that we can have it shipped by December, have it in the nursery from January to May, and plant the seeds in June. It has to be well timed,” he concluded.
While in Brazil, representatives of EMBRAPA, Brazil’s main agriculture research organization, have been guiding Minister Mai and his delegation.
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