Posted: Friday, February 17, 2023. 10:47 am CST.
By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: The Government of Belize (GOB) through the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) and with financing totaling BZ$40 Million from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and participating beneficiaries has embarked on a 6-year Programme, Resilient Rural Belize (RRB), which aims to minimize the impacts of climatic and economic events on small farmers while supporting sustainable market access for their produce.
The Resilient Rural Belize Programme under the Ministry of Economic Development has planned and overseen the implementation of a successful roadway rehabilitation project in northern Belize District.
The roadway alignment runs approximately 3 miles eastward of Maskall village along the frontage of a series of local farms situated in the Nago Bank community.
This roadway was primarily designed to provide year-round access for the Nago Bank farmers to support climate resilient productivity and improved market access through rehabilitation and provision of new road and drainage.
A contract for the upgrading of these 3 miles of the Nago Bank Road was signed on Monday, May 9, 2022 between the Government of Belize (GOB) and the and Teichroeb & Sons Limited.
The contract is worth BZ $1,734,102.34. The upgrading of the Nago Bank Road was officially completed on January 11, 2023.
The Nago Bank community is identified as one of the most productive farming communities in the Belize District; however they were severely limited in their ability to efficiently move (in mass) their products from the farms to the markets.
Vegetables produced in Nago Bank are supplied to markets in Belize City, Orange Walk, and the Cayes.
Originally, access was limited to tractor trails leading into the community that were best usable only during the dry season.
During the rainy season, produce had to be brought out either by tractor, horse-drawn carriages, or 4×4 vehicles. In addition, movement of children to the schools and medical personnel to the farming community was also severely limited.
RRB adopted the primary farming Cooperative from the community (Los Pequeños Agricultores y Ganaderos de Nago Bank) as a key stakeholder to provide input towards the establishment of roadway alignment and design development.
This cooperative currently has over 15,000 tomato plants under cultivation as well as an equal number of sweet peppers, watermelons and other such vegetables and also has a contractual arrangement to deliver plantains to plantain chip facilities as well.
A ceremony was held today to officially launch the opening of the Nago Bank Road.
Attendees included Area Representative Marconi Leal, the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Economic Development, Dr. Osmond Martinez; the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprises, Servulo Baeza; and the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing, Victor Espat and Ruben Alexander Pineda, Chairman, Los Pequeños Agricultores y Ganaderos de Nago Bank Co-operative Society Limited.
The RRB and the MED extended gratitude to the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing (MIDH) and especially the Chief Engineer, Lennox Bradley and the Chief Executive Officer, Victor Espat for their contribution to the upgrading of the Nago Bank Road including producing the design and doing the supervision of the construction and its maintenance.
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