Posted: Tuesday, June 6, 2023. 11:37 am CST.
Photo Credit: MAFSE
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise (MAFSE) and the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (Amexcid) will be launching the Sembrando Vida Belize’s programme on Thursday, June 15, at the Yo Creek Agriculture Station in the Orange Walk District.
The Sembrando Vida Belize project, funded by Amexcid, is an initiative to help small farmers become more self-sustaining.
According to Emilio Rene Montero, National Food and Nutrition Security Commission (NFNSC) Coordinator, the registration process for the farmers participating in the programme has already been done as well as the verification phase. Now, the Sembrando Vida Belize enters the actual production phase for farmers.
The farmers who have been approved will be receiving monies, seeds, materials, and training from the program to be put into action.
Registration for the Mexican funded Sembrando Vida Project for the 2000 Belizean farmers started right after Agriculture Minister Jose Abelardo Mai signed the Amexcid Sembrando Vida grant contract on Monday, October 17, 2022. That signing officially released funding amounting to BZ$6 million to the Sembrando Vida project, said the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise (MAFSE).
Minister Mai signed the grant contract at the Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College in San Roman, Corozal, along with Claudio Lara, director of the Sembrando Vida project in Belize, in representation of the Mexican government.
The Sembrando Vida (Sowing Life) project, which is rolled out here by Amexcid, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, has been carried out in neighbouring countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador with much success.
After the October signing, the programme was to hire extension officers, release stipends to farmers, and obtain agro-inputs, MAFSE said.
“The project is to actually assist the small farmer; farmers that have within .5 of an acre to 5 acres,” said Montero.
“The launching is being done officially next week,” Montero said.
“We did the registration and validation of farmers, and next we’ll be doing the agricultural inputs, economic input, and capacity building for eight months.
“The bio-factories that are being installed throughout the country in every district will be used to train the small farmers how to do their natural organic biofertilizers for them to apply in their plantations.”
Montero said the farmers will get a Heritage Bank ATM card to access funds to buy agricultural supplies to support their own activities in their plots.
“They will get approximately $1,000 in agricultural supplies and they will get $500 every two months for the next eight months. That’s the $2,000 in economic support,” Montero said.
“And, then the eight months technical training which is ongoing.”
Montero said that based on studies that have been conducted, MAFSE and the Sembrando Vida technicians have agreed what type of seeds will be given to the farmers. However, if the farmers want to plant additional crops, that’s where the ATM card funds will come in handy as well because the farmers will then be able to access funds to buy other seeds.
Montero said the Sembrando Vida objective is for the farmer to become self-sustaining.
“After the eight months, the farmer should have enough training, have been able to improve on his agriculture supplies, and he should then be able to be on his own, to continue being productive and successful,” Montero said.
“The idea is to empower the farmer so that after the eight months they can now stand on their own.”
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