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Resilient Rural Belize Programme receives US$5 million loan from Caribbean Development Bank

Posted: Friday, December 30, 2022. 9:23 am CST.

Photo Credit: Ministry of Agriculture

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Resilient Rural Belize programme (RRB) is receiving a US$5 million loan from Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to improve agricultural production and resilience for small farmers in rural Belize.

According to Caribbean News Global, the CDB’s board of directors approved the US$5 million for the Resilient Rural Belize programme (RRB) on December 9.

The RRB objectives are to improve small farmers’ commercial agricultural output, increase their access to markets, and strengthen resilience to climate change.

“The agriculture sector is one of the main pillars of the Belizean economy – it contributed an estimated 10.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2021.,” said CDB’s senior operations officer, agriculture, and rural development Luther St Ville.

St Ville said that while agriculture is a key economic driver in Belize, the small farmers who make up the main core of the sector, need more assistance to reach their full potential.

“The sector is dominated by small farmers who play a critical role, especially in enhancing national food security. However, their productivity and income are far below potential due to a range of reasons including limited productive resources such as access to finance, limited training in modern agricultural techniques and low investment in production and market-related infrastructure and services,” St Ville said.

The RRB programme, which is valued at US$25 million and is financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), The Green Climate Fund (GCF), and the CDB, is expected to upgrade 45 miles of agricultural/rural roads, install ten small-scale irrigation and drainage systems to provide water to approximately 450 acres, and establish a national climate information system. The RRB programme also lends technical assistance, training and rural infrastructure upgrades so that small farmers can attain sustainable production and improve their access to high-value markets.

 

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