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Ministry of Agriculture conducts soursop cultivation demonstration at Central Farm following pitahaya session on Tuesday

Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2023. 10:49 am CST.

Photo Credit: MAFSE

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise (MAFSE) is conducting a soursop cultivation demonstration session for farmers at its Central Farm Station. Today’s session comes right after a pitahaya demonstration carried out on Tuesday by experts from Mexico’s National Research Institute of Forestry, Agriculture, and Livestock (INIFAP).

Like Tuesday’s, today’s session, which started at 9:00 am, aims to educate farmers on how to grow, manage, and benefit from soursop. The demonstration will also feature best practices, knowledge sharing, and encouragement of new agricultural techniques adoption.

On Tuesday, Mexican researcher Jeremías Velásquez, who came from Veracruz, showed farmers how to plant two white pulp varieties of pitahaya (dragon fruit), Andrea and Taneth. He explained that the Andrea variety has a red peel and the Taneth is yellow.

Mexican INIFAP researcher Jeremías Velásquez conducts pitahaya demonstration. (Photo Credit: MAFSE)

Workshop participants looking at a pitahaya plant. (Photo Credit: MAFSE)

Velásquez explained that the white varieties are better to cultivate because they auto pollinate while the red varieties have to cross pollinate. He told the farmers that pitahaya needs shade, that’s why they are planted along with a shade tree, Mexicans call a tutor or mulatto. The tree also serves to support the pitahaya plant, which is a vining cactus. He said if planted well, they should end up with 2,500 pitahaya plants per acre which after five years, once production stabilizes, should produce approximately 10 tons of fruit. Pitahaya, Velásquez said, can give fruits for 25 to 30 years as long as they are managed well, for example control of pests. He said that during the dry season the plants are watered every month with four litres of water per plant.

Pitahaya plants just planted beside tutor at Central Farm. (Photo Credit: MAFSE)

The participants planted the two varieties of white pulp pitahaya in a plot at Central Farm. The same is expected to be done in today’s soursop session. Velásquez also said they are studying if the varieties grown in Mexico are also good for Belize.

The training by Mexican experts is part of the agriculture cooperation agreement with Mexico.

Farmers attend pitahaya training session at Central Farm. (Photo Credit: MAFSE)

Farmers look on as INIFAP’s Jeremías Velásquez explains pitahaya cultivation at Central Farm. (Photo Credit: MAFSE)

Farmers attend pitahaya theoretical training session at Central Farm. (Photo Credit: MAFSE)



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