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San Felipe Maya Golden Honey Group moving to become a cooperative as they seek assistance from Resilient Rural Belize

Posted: Saturday, October 14, 2023. 6:26 pm CST.

Photo Credit: MAFSE

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: After applying to the Resilient Rural Belize (RRB) programme for assistance, 14 members of the Maya Golden Honey Group from San Felipe Village met last Thursday with RRB officer Cornelio Tzib and Department of Cooperatives’ officer Francis Vega to discuss their situation to see how best they could benefit from the RRB programme.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security,and Enterprise (MAFSE), the meeting was organized by Tzib and facilitated by Vega.

As it stands, the San Felipe Maya Golden Honey Group would benefit best if they were to become a cooperative.

“Resilient Rural Belize is just one programme that is out there supporting agricultural producer organizations,” Registrar of Cooperatives Gareth Murillo told Breaking Belize News.

“They provide support in terms of them encouraging groups to organize. They start with an organizational development plan. From there they would move to a business plan. Then, RRB provides some support in terms of a matching grant agreement where, if as part of their business plan it is determined that they need some infrastructure, some equipment, some materials, that is included there.”

Murillo said that if assistance is approved, RRB funds from 85 % to 90 % of what the petitioning party asked for. The group would be expected to co-finance the other 10 or 15 % of the business plan. Murillo explained that a petitioning party doesn’t necessarily have to be a cooperative to receive assistance but the quantity that they have access to would be higher as a cooperative than as an association or a group.

Hence, it is important that the San Felipe Maya Golden Honey Group register as a cooperative to receive the most assistance they can get.

Although they’ve made approaches to the Cooperatives Department before, they hadn’t moved to become a cooperative, but now that they have more than ten members they can.

And they seem to be moving in that direction going by their meeting on Thursday when officers Tzib and Vega discussed with them the group’s draft internal policy.

Murillo said that if they met to discuss a draft internal policy that means the Maya Golden Honey Group is now moving to register as a cooperative since the internal policy is a part of the internal regulatory documentation which also includes the byelaws.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise, the participants engaged in open dialogue, sharing their perspectives and insights to refine the policy. MAFSE said they also looked at various aspects of the internal policy, including membership rules, decision-making processes, and responsibilities.

“The insights and feedback gathered during the meeting will be used to finalize and implement the internal policy,” MAFSE said.

“Future meetings and follow-up sessions will be organized to ensure effective policy implementation.”


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