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Ministry of Economic Development Invests in Expansion of a Biological Control Program for Farmers in Belize

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2024. 9:56 am CST.

Press Release

The Ministry of Economic Development (MED), through its Rural Resilient Belize (RRB) Program, joined efforts with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise (MAFSE) and the International Regional Organization for Health in Agriculture (OIRSA) to expand the Bio Factory for the production of natural enemies for pest control in Belize’s agricultural sector, through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed April 26.

OIRSA and RRB recognizes the need for adopting new agricultural technologies for a more effective approach. Consequently, various initiatives have been undertaken with positive outcomes for small farmers in the agriculture sector, such as this program which will expand to new farmers and farmer groups in Belize.

As our climate continues to warm, the frequency and severity of its effects grow, greatly impacting farmers and farm communities. This includes the increase and re-emergence of pests and disease outbreaks, threatening our agriculture systems and causing scarcity in food supply. The expansion of the biological control program brings hope, as it will assist farmers in mitigating the effects of climate damage and making their operations more resilient and sustainable in the long term, while promoting the sustainable use of pesticides in the fields.

The expansion program also aims to increase the production of beneficial insects in the bio factory such as the Chrysoperla Carnea and the Parasitoid Trichogramma Pretiosum, for farmers to utilize them in the field for pest control, and for the development of pilot projects with farmer groups from various areas of the country to reduce the use of restricted insecticides in fields. These beneficial insects have been proven to work effectively for the control of whitefly, spider mites, scale insect, leaf hoppers, thrips, aphids, mealybugs, borer pest and other soft bodied insect.

RRB and OIRSA will work hand in hand with cooperatives and farmer groups from the Corozal, Orange Walk, Belize and Cayo districts to promote this initiative. They will also partner with the Pesticides Control Board (PCB), the Cooperatives Department and MAFSE to facilitate educational workshops and pilot projects, demonstrating the effectiveness of the approach to be taken, encouraging farmers to use it as an alternative to their current farming practices.

Strengthening collaboration to expand this program to all cooperatives working with RRB will enable them to make good use of this innovative technology and approach, thus enhancing our agricultural sector in a safe and intelligent manner. The Ministry of Economic Development, through the RRB program, will invest approximately BZE$250,000 in this endeavour.

Present at the signing were Hon. Luis Balona, Minister of State for the Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Enterprise; Dr. Osmond Martinez, Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Economic Development; Mr. Raul Rodas Suazo, Executive Director, International Regional Organization for Health in Agriculture; Mr. Fermin Blanco, Country Representative, International Regional Organization for Health in Agriculture and Dr. Geraldo Flowers, Programme Manager, Resilient Rural Belize.

 

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