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MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 1 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize The Belize Ag Report Belizes most complete independent agricultural publication FOR SALE 710 Acs on Macal River $725 K US, See Pg. 5Micropropagation Laboratory Established in BelizeStephen Williams, Micropropagation Laboratory Manager, University of Belize, Central Farm. The University of Belize (UB) is establishing a commercial micropropagation laboratory in Belize at its Department of Agriculture campus in Central Farm. The lab, which has been funded partly by European Union funds but mainly by the university, will provide a much needed and highly specialized plant production service to the agricultural sector of Belize. The advantages of micropropagation the production of plants on a highly nutritious substrate in closed containers over conventional propagation are: (a) Starting with small-numbers of crop plants it is possible to produce large numbers for planting material in a short time period. (b) Plants produced will be healthy and disease-free. (c) Plantations established will be uniform and so produce a more uniform crop. (d) The technique can be used for the safe introduction into Belize of new improved crop varieties. Continued on page 24 MAR-APR 2012 ISSUE 15 2012 NATS27-29 of April Newly renovated building at Central Farm houses the new UB micropropagation laboratory Guava page 10 Turkey Tail page 13
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 2 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Riverfront/Farmland Luxury Rural SpecialistsThe lush hill and river valley region of the Cayo District Belize, Western Caribbean Beth Roberson Sandra Roberson Court Roberson 663-6777/668-0749/662-5700 www.holdfastbelize.com Land is our language TM HOLDFASTLTD. Come enjoy our tropical plant collection which in addition to Vanilla and Black pepper, includes Cardamom, Clove, Nutmeg, Cashew, Rambuttan, Sapote, Anjili, Bilimbi, Carambola, Nellipuli, Jackfruit, Mangoes, Jatropha and many flowering plants too many to list!Tours are open to the public!!! Belize Spice Farm & Botanical Gardens Belize Spice Farm & Botanical GardensCome and visit the largest Vanilla & Black Pepper farm in Belize!!! Golden Stream, Southern Highway, Toledo District 221 km, or approximately 3 hours drive from Belize City (501) 732-4014 email@example.com www.belizespicefarm.com
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 3 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Disease-Detecting DogsNew research proves canines can uncover citrus canker with higher accuracy than humans. The next step is training dogs to detect HLB. By Tacy CalliesReprinted with permission from CITRUS INDUSTRY magazine, February 2012 issue. See www. citrusindustry.net for subscription information. Scent detection is a very interesting but old technology, says U.S. Department of Agriculture research leader and plant pathologist Tim Gottwald of the U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory in Fort Pierce. People have been using dogs to But did you know that dogs have now been trained to detect citrus canker in Florida grove, nurseries and packing houses? And as you read this, training is under way to teach them to detect HLB, too. In 2000, Gottwald began studying canine canker detection, but after the terrorist attacks of September 2001, the dogs he was working with were pulled off the project to be used for detecting explosives and other efforts against terrorism. He resumed his work a few years later with the USDA/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) detector dog program in Orlando and was making good progress, but the projet was hampered by high turnover in human personnel and dogs. Gottwalds next move (about three years ago) was training company in High Springs. We have a very stable relationship with the canine trainers the best Ive ever had, says Gottwald. They use a unique methodology involving a self-discovery system in which the dogs come to recognize themselves what they are looking for. They have been very successful in training the dogs this way. Founded by former Gainesville Police Department canine business since 1996. Its scent detection division started in 1998 with a University of Florida (UF) project on termite detection, and then bed bugs. What separates us is we rely heavily on research and academics, says Peruyero, who has also collaborated with the University of Tennessee. Weve developed a proprietary training method system. It is a self-discovery process for the dogs; they are not forced to do their natural instincts and drive.He says the average time is it by stopping and sitting in front of the infected tree or fruit. Peruyero currently has four Labrador retrievers trained to detect canker-infected citrus. By May, capacity is expected to increase to 30 to 40 dogs. According to Peruyero, dogs best suited for the job are larger breeds that are genetically able to run great distances, endure the heat and have sure footing in the sand. AMAZING ACCURACY Repeated runs in the (Riverfront Groves) packinghouse and with a 98 percent accuracy rate and a 1 percent error rate. I didnt expect this rate of ability in dogs, reports Gottwald, who received a small grant from the Citrus Research and Development Foundation for the project. He says the results shouldnt really come as a surprise, since dogs have 10,000 to 1 million times greater ability to sense volatile compounds than humans. He cites a previous study in which 14 teams of humans scouts were deployed in a grove to search for canker. Different teams found different infected trees. Humans are considerably below the 98 percent accuracy rate of the dogs, reports For example, Peruyero recalls a dog that found canker on one leaf with one tiny spot on it in a 2-acre grove that had just been cleared by USDA inspectors as being canker free. The by human eyes, he says. So the dogs are sometimes better than us at canker detection, says Gottwald. Dan Richey, president of Riverfront Groves, had the opportunity to see the dogs in action at his packinghouse. The level of accuracy was impressive, he says. It is amazing what a dog can do. While it was very impressive, I am not sure how practical it would be to implement. INCREASED EFFICIENCY but they arent meant to eliminate humans from the scouting process, and the dogs require a human handler at all times. Were looking to add another level of detection for growers, not replace humans, say Peruyero. This is an enhanced Continued on page 21 firstname.lastname@example.orgWE LOVE HEARING FROM YOU!Letters to the Editor should not exceed 300 words. Kindly identify yourself. Should you prefer your name withheld from print, tell us.Letters submitted to us for publication should not be submitted to other publications.
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 4 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize CASSAVA A Versatile Vegetable told by Mary Loan of Cristo Rey VillageCassava, also known as yuca root, manioc, mandioca, sagu, mogo or tapioca, is a popular woody shrub of the Eurhorbiaceae (spurge family). The plant grows easily and produces starchy tubers which are used as a food source. Cassava is native to South America and is extensively cultivated as a short-lived perennial plant in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. Approximately sixhundred million people rely on cassava as a daily principal source of nutrition. The crop has been a staple food since preColumbian times (3000 B.P.). Some familiar foods made from cassava include: bread, puddings, beverages as well as an ingredient used interchangeably with potatoes, sweet potatoes and plantains in many dishes. Starch from cassava can be used for producing sugar, acetone and alcohol as well as a potential source of ethanol bio fuel. The leaves and tubers are used for animal feed worldwide. There are three forms of cassava sweet, bitter, and a non-edible ornamental variety. Bitter variety cassava leaves are used to treat hypertension, headache and pain. The paste from the root is used to treat irritable bowel syndrome. As cassava is gluten free it is used as a wheat alternative for celiac disease. The tubers range yield one the highest carbohydrates per cultivated food crop, often exceeding twenty tons of edible tubers and leaves per acre! The roots are rich in carbohydrates, calcium, vitamin C The amazing thing about cassava is that it is very poisonous if eaten raw or not prepared correctly to draw off the bitter principals of cassava, two cyanogenic glucosides of hydocyanic acid (HCN). The toxins are known as linamarin and lotaustralian. When eaten raw or not prepared correctly, the human digestive system will convert this to cyanide poison. Even a few pieces of cassava roots contain a fatal dose of poison. Symptoms of cyanide poisoning include: vertigo, vomiting and collapse and in some instances, death. Chronic, low-level cyanide exposure is associated with the development of goiter and with tropical ataxic neuropathy, a nerve-damaging disorder that causes neuropathy. (http:// www.cidpusa.org/cassava.htm). Fortunately, the poisonous substance is soluble in water. The roots must be boiled in water to release the toxins. Soaking for eighteen to twenty-four hours can remove up to one-half the cyanide. Traditionally in Africa the roots are peeled and placed in water for three days to ferment. The roots are then dried and stored to be cooked before eating. Some of the toxins may be removed by squeezing the roots, then cooking them. The liquid used from squeezing and cooking is used as an ant poison. Leaves must also be washed and cooked before consuming.Continued on page 9The Belize Ag Report, P.O. Box 150, San Ignacio, Cayo District, Belize, Central America Editor: Beth Gould Roberson Special Editor: Dottie Feucht Printed by BRC Printing, Benque Viejo, Cayo District, Belize Submissions as follows: email@example.com Deadlines for submissions: 10th of the month prior to publication. Mission Statement: T he Belize Ag Report is an independent bimonthly agriculture newsletter. Our purpose is to collect, edit and disseminate information useful to the Belizean producer, large or small. We invite opinions on issues, which are not necessarily our own. Belize Ag neither solicits nor accepts political ads.
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 5 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Belize Citrus MutualPRESS RELEASE: 20th December 2011 th December 2011 in Maya Centre Village in the Stann Creek District. The meeting reviewed the progress of BCM over the past two years, for the current crop year. Additionally, the interim board of directors who were included to expand the representation of small growers. The expanded Board of Directors consists of 9 members total, namely: Mr. Ernest Raymond as Chairman, Mr. William Bowman and Mr. Michael Duncker as Executive Roe, Mr. Daniel Bolon, Mr. Mario Sho and Mr. Gerry Sharp as Directors. chairman of the Belize Agro Productive Sector Group. In his address, he congratulated the growers as being part of a noble profession of farmers that adds value to the economy well beyond what is recognized. He also encouraged BCM and its members to continue to challenge the status quo and to be pervasive, persuasive and persistent in ensuring that the necessary changes be made to the existing legal structure governing the citrus industry to make it more open and more dynamic. There was also a presentation by the Development Finance Corporation on the various credit facilities that are available to citrus farmers. It was also noted that there are plans to establish a BCM Trust Fund in the upcoming year that will be operated as a credit facility for its members to access loan funds at a very concessionary rate and on a revolving basis. Another presentation made at the AGM was that from the processor of fruit, the Citrus Products of Belize Limited. Dr. Henry Canton, the CEO of CPBL, discussed matters related to the factory and processing. His presentation transitioned into a lively and frank discussion on topics such as CPBL being legally bound to accept all fruit from all growers without the need for production licenses and on the matter of the temporary closure of the factory over the Christmas break and a bit beyond to allow oranges to mature further. of which are small growers. The total combined production production, excluding the production of CPBLs own farms. The balance of the production is accounted for by independent growers and the other citrus farmers association. BCM was th the cause of growers over the past two years, especially in ensuring that their constitutional rights in regards to freedom of association are respected. In this light, BCM will continue to aggressively champion the cause of citrus growers but will choose to do so in a positive and constructive way. BCM stands willing to collaborate with other partners, including other grower associations, whether citrus or otherwise, in positively moving the industry forward and increasing production and productivity. It is in this spirit that BCM encourages the feuding partners who own CPBL to together to ensure the expansion and further development of a vibrant citrus industry in Belize. Similarly, BCM calls on the Government of Belize to take the bold step and make the required changes to the existing legal structure to ensure that the citrus industry can develop and progress beyond the traditional way of doing business. P.O. Box 590 Belmopan, Cayo District Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Do you have some knowledge or opinion that you would like to have printed in The Belize Ag Report? We welcome contributed articles, as well as letters to the editor and ideas for articles. Your contributions will improve the paper. Kindly send to
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 6 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize LATIN AMERICA: FAVORABLE LAND WITH OPPORTUNITIESLatin America is the worlds farm. In terms of arable land China has 0.11 hectares per capita, or less than half of the world average. On the other hand, Latin America averages twice as much at (0.25) as China. Argentina and Paraguay have seven times more arable land than China while Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Cuba have more by threefold. Mexico and Belize have twice as much. Land is useless without water, but Latin America is a particularly alluring region for agribusiness because the region holds 34 percent of the worlds total renewable water resources. China accounts for only 5.2 percent of the total America has less than half the amount of people. In addition, the World Bank places Latin America among the regions with the cleanest water. Every country in South America aside from only 0.5 tons of pollutant/km3 of water. On average, water in clean freshwater supply is crucial for agriculture in a country, costs. holds three of the worlds ten largest rivers: the Amazon, Orinoco and Parana. China, on the other hand, is home to the worlds second largest river, the Yangtze, which is ten times smaller than the Amazon and seriously affected by pollution. In addition, Latin America is privileged with favorable weather for agricultural production. Latin American agribusiness is mostly centered on an export model, but almost all countries in the region are currently unable to meet global demand due to poor infrastructure. While logistics costs have fallen in the rest of the world, they have risen in Latin America. Studies show that doubling the cost of a countrys transportation reduces trade by up to 80 percent. In Brazil, transportation of certain products costs up to seven times that of other nations. A 2009 survey the biggest obstacle to growth was poor infrastructure. With their expertise in managing large infrastructure projects and a voracious appetite for food, the Chinese are securing infrastructure contracts and future food supplies in Latin America. CONCLUSION China is urbanizing in a dramatic fashion. Estimates expect another 300 million people to move to cities by 2025. As a consequence, China is increasing resources devoted to its Go Out policy for food resources. Even though Latin America is on the opposite side of the world and has infrastructure problems, Chinese companies are very active in the region, and are only just beginning to realize the opportunities that await in Latin America. This article is based on an excerpt of a white paper by SinoLatin Capital PLANT LOCATION: Route 20 East Spanish Lookout, Cayo District, Belize Currently Bel-Cars main exporting products are corn meal, corn grits, and dry edible beans. It has Black Eye Beans, Light Red Kidney Beans, Black Beans, and Small Red Beans available at most times. MAILING ADDRESS: BEL-CAR EXPORT & IMPORT COMPANY LTD. Box 578, Spanish Lookout, Belize, Central America CONTACTS: Tel:501-823-0318 / 501-823-0271 Fax:501-823-0136 E-mail:email@example.com
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 7 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize 1st National Organic ForumBy Peter Ivory (MAFC) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), I came away impressed with the group of 80 committed people who gathered to organize the Belize National Organic Council (BNOC). Every district was represented. Both the Minister of Agriculture, the Honorable Rene Montero, and the CEO of MAF endorsed the idea of a BNOC in their remarks. Lively discussions followed the speakers who included: Mr. Maximiliano Ortega (IICA), who spoke on global trends in organic agriculture Ms. Celi Cho (Dept. of Environment), who spoke on organic agriculture and the environment Ms. Fay Garnett (MAFC), who coordinated the event, gave an overview of the research being done in the region Mr. Nana Mensah (Sustainable Harvest International), who described organic agriculture being done in southern Belize Mr. Greg Clark (Sol Farms), who discussed organic marketing and the demand by Belizean resorts for quality food Those who were elected to the BNOC are: Mr. Greg Clark Manager Sol Farms Mr. Nana Mensah Sustainable Harvest International Mr. William Usher BAEL Mr. Pantaleon Escobar Humana People to People Mr. Candido Chun Sustainable Harvest international Ms. Emily Stone Moho River Cacao Gratitude for attending the workshop was expressed in charting The Way Forward for Organics in Belize. San Ignacio, Cayo, Belize (501)824-3101 www.belizebotanic.orgOpen 7 Days A Week 7am-5pmNew Savanna Trail! Tropical Fruit Orchard Native Orchid House Native Plants of Belize Sundays Free For Belizeans!Directions: Take Western Highway from San Ignacio towards the border, 1/10 mile after Clarissa Falls, turn left and follow the signs. DiamondRealty West Street, San Ignacio, Cayo Belize, Central America
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 8 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize BEYOND THE BACKYARDA Mothers LoveBy Jenny Wildman One day whilst begging some plant cuttings a friend (born Belizean ) suddenly exclaimed Hey, you have that pretty plant which I have not seen for years. This is the plant that for sure tells you that your mother loves you. If we would have a cut, scrape, bruise or upset tummy, mum or granny would go hunting all over the bush with great determination searching until they returned with the medicine. I tried it out on a couple of boo boos warming the leaf and applying directly to the wound. Well not knowing if it was something in the leaf like iron or just the added attention, I was still very pleased with the result and loved the story behind it. The gardener arrived on Saturday morning and in minutes went through the area with the weed whacker. Exit my miracle plant. Earlier on my morning walk I had spotted the same Vervain at the side of the road and assumed it was everywhere but as the story goes it is somewhat elusive and when I retraced the strides of my four mile route I could not also known by the local names, Verbena Hastata, Verveine Blue Vervain, Porterweed, Medical Ironherb Wild Hyssop, Devils Coachwhip, Blue Snakeweed et al. It must have been well studied to acquire so many names and be esteemed in botanical thought as having divine and supernatural healing power and offer protection from demonic forces. It was also when taken from the cross; hence the name Holy Herb. cooling herbal tonic mentioned as early as 1652 by Nicholas Culpeper or roots and stems as a vermifuge and leaves as a poultice for wounds. Offered as a love token or bridal bouquet it is a symbol of love and chastity and hung over the door with a horseshoe to bring good fortune and ward off evil. Hard to imagine anyone suggesting this could be a troublesome invasive weed spreading rampant across wastelands. Perhaps only to the pharmaceutical companies as it appears to be an effective cure all. Different species of verbena can be susceptible to each others pollen and I have found similar looking weeds here but with stiffer leaves. Looking at the garden centre catalogues, I see that one plant say that it is a short lived perennial that makes a grand ground cover and suited to hanging baskets. It prefers sandy soil and full sun and propagates by root cuttings or seed and is enthusiasm. It is said to encourage the wisdom to enjoy life. Luckily I have the remedy right on my doorstep. Having searched all over unsuccessfully in the hopes of rekindling my relationship with this mothers love, imagine my surprise when it popped up at the foot of my stairs in my little courtyard, along side my treasured herbs, without any assistance. Now if you a wondering what a simpler is, it is a person who collects medicinal plants (simples) and yes I have much joy today at having this pretty blue simple grace my garden with its presence. Please share your comments and any ideas on this and other related topics to firstname.lastname@example.org In response to a question about the use of Hoja Santa: Blanch a whole leaf for 10 seconds then dunk in cold water and wrap around game or chicken and steam. Try braising vegetables with it or muddle it into a cocktail as a fresh herb like mint in a mojito. It gives a unique licorice peppery taste. Enjoy.
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 9 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Cayos B-OIL Belize Promotes Indias OORJA Smokeless Stove and Begins Local Jatropha Pellet ProductionMr. Graham Herbert, manager of B-Oil Belize Ltd. has been supplying jatropha seedlings and promoting its development in Belize for several years. In 2011 B-Oil Belize became the Belize and Caribbean distributor for Indias famous Oorja stove. Also, B-Oil Belize has expanded to produce their own biomass pellets from jatropha byproducts to fuel them. The Oorja was developed in India by BP and the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, as a more healthy and ecofriendly alternative to their more traditional biomass fuels, wood and dried cow dung. Studies there show that the stove reduces carbon monoxide and particulate emissions as compared to traditional open stoves, thus has the potential to make an important impact on a key public health concern. In addition to the lessened indoor pollution, the stove offers fuel pellets for the Oorja were sugarcane bagasse, groundnut husk and maize cobs. B-Oil notes on their website that they are committed to utilize every option in our current operations to waste no particle of the sustainable harvest, from our own jatropha plantations and other agri-waste here in Belize. B-Oil plans to establish outlets for the stoves and fuel in 200 villages throughout Belize. 3 Oorja models are advertised on their website, the smallest household unit costs $60.USD and the largest, a commercial size unit, for $165.USD. The jatropha pellets are priced at $10.Bz/30 lb bag. Introducing WHOLISTIC THERAPIES Eastern Chiropractic Naturopathy Herbals Homeopathics Treatment For: Injuries Immune Deficiency High Blood Pressure Diabetes Pain 1458 Eve Street Santa Elena, Cayo Opposite La Loma Luz Hospital, take the road towards the Aguada to fourth street By Appointment Only With mention of this ad. Randy Barnes, N.D. Susan Barnes, N.D. MEDICINE WHEEL ATTENTION NOW IN BELIZE AGRICONES AGRICULTURAL CONSULTANCY, ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT AND REAL ESTATE SERVICESFor all your consultancy needs in AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION BUSINESS OR PROJECT DEVELOPMENT STATISTICAL ANALYSIS LAND USE AND MEASUREMENT REAL ESTATE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTVisit us at our website http://www.agricones.com/ or Email: email@example.com TELEPHONE: 501-8222618 CELL: 501-6208481
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 10 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize On November 16, 2011 the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) and the Taiwan Technical Mission of the Republic of China (Taiwan) (TTM), jointly celebrated the premiere of their new video and publication, TAIWAN GUAVA PRODUCTION MANUAL, First Edition. Both the Hon. Min. of Agriculture, Rene Montero and H.E. David Wu, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) addressed the guests during the morning session. Mr. Miguel Cheng, Ms. visits to the guava orchards at the Horticulture Crop Training and Demonstration Center in the afternoon. Visitors were shown and encouraged to attempt grafting, air-layering, transplanting, pruning, pinching and thinning. Although native to Central America, Taiwan is the worlds premier producer and leader in research on guava. The varieties that the TTM has selected as best suited for Belize are the Taiwanese Guava, the Century Guava and the Pearl Guava. The Taiwanese and the Century bear fruits year-round. Mature trees can produce up to 40kg/year and they will begin fruiting in only their 2nd year. At a spacing of between 12 to 15 ft between both trees and rows, an acre of land can have approximately 250 trees. These 3 cultivars, both grafted and air-layered, will all be available at the Horticulture Crop Training and Demonstration Center, Central Farm, for $10 per plant, in late May 2012. Both the beautifully illustrated manual and the video present sections on cultivars, growing requirements and cultivation techniques, pests and diseases and a section on production costs including a chart showing estimated costs over 3 years for establishing 1 acre of guava. The manual and video are predicted to be effective tools to encourage the expansion of guava for the local Belizean market as well as for export. El Salvador is reportedly seeking a large quantity for importation, and the potential for export of Belizean guava to North America and Europe is enormous. Guava properly packed and refrigerated can be stored for 20-25 days. The video was produced in collaboration with Mr. Luis Wade of Plus TV Shamax Productions. Both the video and the manual are available at the TTM at Central Farm. Favorable reception and feedback of these to MAF and TTM could lead to further videos and manuals on other agricultural topics. Mr. Luis Wade, Ambassador David Wu, Hon. Rene Montero, Mr. Miguel ChenVideo Premiere & Workshop of Taiwan Guava Production at Central Farm
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 11 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Preparing Liquid FertilizerReprinted from Taiwan Guava Production Manual, First Edition, Nov 2011 Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Technical Mission of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Below is a step by step guide on how to prepare liquid fertilizer which can be used to fertilize fruit trees and vegetables. Ingredients: 1. 200 liters of water 2. 1 gallon of molasses 3. 15 eggs 4. 2 buckets mill feed (wheat middling) 5. 1 gallon of milk 6. 1 liter of EM solution Preparation: 1. Break egg into the one gallon of molasses (egg shell adds calcium, optional) 2. Add the gallon of milk 3. Add the EM and other liquid ingredients; 4. Stir thoroughly until molasses is completely dissolved liters), and then add in the 2 buckets of mill feed or rice bran. 200 liters drum capacity. 14 Days Process: Mixture must be stirred daily for about 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the evening for 14 days; thereafter it can be used as liquid fertilizer. Daily stirring is necessary since bacteria added to the mixture needs oxygen to accelerate decomposition. The mixture will develop a fermented smell similar to sweet wine or vinegar as indication that the process has been done correctly and properly. Application: For soil drench, the recommended dilution rate is 1:25 to 1:50 (i.e. 1 part liquid fertilizer to 25 parts water) and 1:80 to 1:100 for foliar application. To use as a plant drench, add 4 to 8 liters of liquid fertilizer to 200 liters of water. Recommendation facts: It is safe to use and is effective; it contains macro and micronutrients. If you use PESTICIDES, it is your RESPONSIBILITY to stay on the SAFE side! Help PROTECT the environment and people of BELIZE.www.pcbbelize.com
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 12 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize TOBACCODr Mandy Tsang, BMChB, DRCOGFlowers, leaves and buds used as an agricultural product. This is article is written as a tribute to tobacco as a plant. It is important to remember the history of this plant and to remind us of its place in history and agriculture. I like tobacco plants and I grow them on my farm because I think spice especially on balmy hot nights. Having an excess of these plants I took the opportunity to take them to a fair to sell thinking that they would go like hot cakes; well, I was received by many phlegmatic responses including, I dont smoke. I have no need for that plant. I was so shocked by the negative responses to this plant that I simply had to write about the tobacco plant and give a more balanced, factual account of this plant. History. tobacco was smoked, uncured tobacco was eaten, a drink was made out of tobacco juice and it was even used in enemas. Tobacco was only used for spiritual purposes in the Native American culture and traditionally used in sacred occasions (for instance in the sealing of a pact). It was thought that exhaled tobacco was capable of carrying ones thoughts to heaven. Interesting enough, because of its mode of use, there was no record of addiction or abuse of tobacco by these people. When Europeans settled in North and South America, it was these people who decided to farm tobacco as an agricultural product and through the commercialisation of this plant it created the use of tobacco as a recreational drug. The addiction of cigarettes and subsequent health effects was borne out of the Europeans use of this plant as tobacco with a documented quantity of 119,000 pounds farmed in that year. It was the lucrative tobacco farming which led to the importation of black slaves to the colony as more labour was needed to work the plantations. Cultivation, Harvest and Curing of Tobacco Tobacco seeds are scattered onto the surface of soil and germination is activated by light. In colonial Virginia, these were fertilised with wood ash and animal manure. In modern Northern America, the plants are fertilised with a mineral Apatite which partially starves the plant of nitrogen which changes the taste of tobacco. Modern cigarettes have liquorice and other additives to can be harvested as single plants in their entirety or by a method known as pulling whereby individual leaves are pulled off as they ripen from bottom to top. The leaves are then transported to curing barns and there are a variety of curing methods used curing barns are no longer in use in Northern America; however air-drying which involved hanging the leaves in well-ventilated curing could take between 3days to 10 weeks for this process. tobacco is then sold in bales to pre-sold contracts. Uses of Tobacco 1) Tobacco can be smoked, made into snuff or chewed. Native Americans chewed tobacco with lime. 2) Creamy Snuff is a product made and sold in India, and marked for women in India, which is a tobacco paste mixed with essential oils sold as a toothpaste and has the following directions, let paste linger in mouth before rinsing. 3) Tobacco water is an organic insecticide comprising of tobacco boiled and steeped in hot water and then applied to plants as an insecticidal spray. 4) Tobacco paste treatment is an old traditional healing use for and bee-stings and involves the mashing of tobacco in water to make a paste which is then applied onto the area like a poultice and remission is said to occur in 20-30 minutes. Note that I have not tried this method so I can not comment on its effectiveness. 5) Flowers of plants are used in the perfume industry. Health Effects. Curing and subsequent aging of tobacco allows for slow oxidation in cigarettes and cigars. Starch is broken down into sugar which binds onto proteins and further oxidises to Advanced Glycation Products (AGES) which contributes to the increased risk of subsequent smoking of tobacco exposes the user to nitrosamines and other carcinogenic compounds. Long term and excessive amounts (generally speaking, 20 or more a day for more than 20 years continuously...of course there are always exceptions to the rule) increases the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and pancreatic disease. In tobacco consumption, the lethal dose can be very small because all nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream (in smoking, only a fraction of nicotine is released into smoke thereby making it a safer way for nicotine delivery). The main points I would like to conclude is that the use of Tobacco has a long traditional history with the Native Americans and an important agricultural history with Europeans and Northern America. The excessive use of tobacco as a recreational drug has led to the negative feelings towards this plant largely due to its health consequences. Nevertheless I would like to acknowledge this plant for its existence in our cultural, social and agricultural history.
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 13 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Trametes versicolor an approved cancer drug in Asia. According to a number of clinical studies in patients with gastric cancer treated there was a decrease in recurrence and an increase in the reduces cancer metastasis and stimulated interleukin-1 production in human cells. There are also a number of other substances produced by this mushroom which include PSP (low-cytotoxic polysaccharopeptide), a possible antiviral agent inhibiting HIV replication which also induces gamma interferon, interleukin-2, and T-cell proliferation. Other molecules isolated have shown antitumor properties, immunomodulating responses and strong antibiotic properties effective against a number of organisms such as E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida albicans and others pathogenic to humans. There are a number of commercial products on the market made from this mushroom, usually in the form of powdered common this mushroom truly is, by taking a walk in your closest jungle or forest, I would suggest picking some, drying it and then extracting it by boiling in water for use in soups or teas. The abundance of research available on this mushroom incorporating it into our diet. Go forth and spread the spores! CASA MASCIA LA BELLA DEL SAPONE COPAL MEDICINAL OIL COPAL OINTMENT COPAL SOAP DR MANDY TSANG DR ALESSANDRO MASCIA DRA.TSANG@GMAIL.COM TEL: (501) 660-6431 CASA MASCIA, TOLEDO, BELIZE. The Turkey Tail Mushroom.Dr Alessandro Mascia, BMBS, CHEdIn this issue I would like to discuss a mushroom species which has caused great excitement because of its medicinal properties; it is known as one of the most potent and best studied of all medicinal mushrooms, with many commercial preparations being sold on the market. Turkey Tail, or Trametes versicolor, is another of those mushrooms that has a virtual worldwide distribution from temperate to tropical zones; I have seen it in every country I belonging to the family of mushrooms called polypores or bracket fungi. They are generally thin and leathery when the species name suggests, the cap colour is extremely variable and can range from a mixture of white, gray, brown, yellowish-buff, bluish, reddish or black in distinct zones (or uniformly) with, sometimes, a white margin when actively growing. This mushroom does not have gills but rather, pores, which appear white to dingy yellowish with minute but visible shallow tubes. This mushroom typically grows in groups, rows, tiers and shelving masses on logs, stumps and fallen branches of dead hardwoods. If you make use of polewood on your farm, it will commonly appear next to Schizophyllum commune on the same pole after the wood has been out for a season or two. It causes a general delignifying decay of wood and is a common cause for your polewood thatches to collapse after a few years. Apart from its medicinal properties, which I will describe next, this multicoloured mushroom is very resistant to decay itself and can be used to make beautiful ornaments (if you are into natural forms) such as brooch clips, earrings, necklaces and other ornaments. With regards to edibility, the mycologist, David Arora puts it very succinctly: boil for 62 hours, squeeze thoroughly and serve forth! A very accurate statement once you have seen this mushroom but nevertheless, perhaps we can reconsider its consumption when we take into account the powerful medicinal properties it has: According to Paul Stamets quoting a number of studies,
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 14 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 15 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Agriculture Prices at a Glance$$$$$MarchApril 2012 A-B denotes the difference between 1st preference & second preference and sometimes between wh olesale & retail and bulk or small amounts Trend (H) means Higher over last 30 to 60 day (L) Lower (S) Steady Prices intend on being farm gate in Belize dollars usua lly price per lbBelize CattleTABGrains, Beans & RiceTAB Young strs. & bulls7501100 lbs H1.20 -1.251.10 1.25 Belize yellow corn H.30 .32.29 .30 Cows & heifers for butcher H.90 1.00(thin).75 .90 White Corn L.32 .34.31 .32 Heifers for breeding 500-800 lbs L1.00 1.05.90 1.00 Corn/ Local retail (low volume) H.35 .40.33 .35 Young grass cattle350650 lbs S1.10 1.251.00 1.10 U.S corn @ 6.40-per 56 lb bushel L$22. 85/ BZ 100#-12 frt. to BZ U.S price -corn fed10001200 lbs H 1.28 US=2.56 B z Guatemala corn price/Peten L.34 .38.32 .34 U.S price feeders 600800 lbs H 1.58 US=3.16 B z Belize milo S.26 .27.25 .26 U.S pricecalves 450600 lbs H 1.80 US=3.60 B z R-K's, little reds & blacks (beans) L 1.00-1.10 farm pric e U.S priceaged butcher cows S .90US=1.80 B z Black eyed peas S .85 .90 farm price Belize HogsMilled retail rice per pound S .87 .88 farm pric e Weiner pigs25 -30 lbsby the head S $95.00 $100.00CitrusButcher pigs 160 230 lbs S1.75 1.851.70 1.75 Oranges per 90 lb box-lb.solid basis H $14.00 Est. 2012 priceBelize SheepGrapefruitper 90 lb box H $ 6.25 Est. 2012 price Butcher lambs S2.00 2.251.752.00SugarMature ewes S1.70 1.751.60 1.70 Cane per tonest. 2012 price $47.50 Hopefully $ will increaseBelize ChickensWhite sugar112 lbscontrolled S$45 per bag + 3-5 cent mark up Broilerslive per lb H1.22 1.241.21 1.22 Brown sugar112 lbscontrolled S$39 per bag + 3-5 cent mark up Spent hens S .70 .72 .68 .70Special farm items Fruits & VegetablesEggstray of 30 eggs S 6.67 farmretail .27 per egg Tomatoes, cabbages, cucumbers Swhosal.75-1.75 ret$1.00-$2.50 WD Milk per lb to farmer Scontract .50 & non contract .35 ***These prices are best estimates only from our best sources and simply provide a range to assist buyers and sellers in negotiations. *** Dear Ag Readers: Farmers the world over, usually talk about the same thingsprices, weather and production problems. It's definitely the same i n Belize Prices are pretty goodweather is crazy with unusual rain patterns and worms, insects, fungus and weeds are always front and c enter. We sprayed some corn 4 times before it was 6" high. The worm only surfaces 2 or 3 hours a day and then goes underground and avoids the poison. Something I do not understand is price controls (such as sugar, where the price controls are below the current area prices and smuggling & corrupt ion is the name of the game). I also do not understand marketing board as a buy-sell business entity that sometimes competes with private sector. Agri culture can lead the way for Belize, but it really needs some Brazilian thinking. All the bestJohn Carr
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 16 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize 2ND ANNUAL TRIPLE CROWN ENDURANCE RACEThe 2nd Annual TCER was great! Perfect weather, trails were in good shape and, an additional rider joined the 30 mile race. Competition was close and spectators had a fun event to watch. The barrel racing competition that followed also saw additional riders and had fast runs thanks to the excellent ground they have at the Belize Equestrian Academy arena. The sponsors of the TCER are to be recognized as visionaries for the equine world of Belize. Without their support, new events such as the Triple Crown could not move forward. Please give a thank you when you are in any of these businesses or see the folks responsible: Belize Natural Energy, Reimers Feed Mill, Uckele Health and Nutrition, Yalbac Ranch Sawmill, San Ignacio Hotel, Cheers, Bio Meds, Running W, Banana Bank, Mega Foods, Caribbean Treasures, Olde Mill and the Belize Ag Report. Treys Barn and Grill and the BEA host this amazing event and Light Rein Farm and BEA produce the TCER and Barrel show. Winners of the 30 Mile TCER were Hannah Pershing riding for Ian Anderson, 2nd was Cesar Xi riding for Banana Bank, 3rdth doing an Sweeping the 3 Divisions of the CHAMPIONSHIPS was Hannah Pershing winning the Champ Rider, Champ Horse and Champ Team, riding Lil Bit and taking home the plaques and the additional $1500.00! Total monies paid for the 2011 payouts for the Barrel Events and dollars totaled well over $4000.00. Besides the dollars there were champion leather monogrammed breast collars to be won after the three events. They were for the high point barrel rider and the high point pole rider. Close points ran throughout the events; determining the champion came down to the last runs of the year, but after totals were done we had a DOUBLE CHAMPION! Asad Bedran won both of the events and took home the two beautiful breast collars. Running our barrel classes in the National Barrel Horse Association Divisional Format allowed us to present belt buckles to the 2D champion Marjie Olson and 3D barrel champion Sherman Erera as well. And the 2D pole buckle was awarded to Amir Rodriquez. The NBHA DIVISIONAL barrel races make running barrels a true family event and place three winners versus one. Watch for the NBHA here in Belize starting in March. The worlds largest barrel organization is being produced here in BZ by Light Rein Farm and many events will be held at the BEA as well as around the country. If you are interested in hosting an NBHA event let me know. A HUGE thank you goes to Maruja Vargas for her energy and willingness to do whatever needed to be done. Thanks to Dr. Trejo who has been the TCER vet now two years and has done a some great photos that you can see at http://Poozieswicked. blogspot.com And of course big thanks to all of the BEA/Olde Mill/LRF workers who pitch in and always do an excellent job. Watch for the 2012 dates for the NBHA barrel events and TCER. Please remember we need your support to be able to continue to run these world class horse events.
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 17 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize REIMER FEEDS...were growing Belize SPANISH LOOKOUTCenter Road Tel: 823-0105BELMOPAN1903 Constitution Dr.Tel: 822-2088 BELIZE CITY 1615 Moho Bay 3 Mls. Northern Hwy.Tel: 223-0606 ORANGE WALK 42 Lovers Lane Tel: 322-1170 REIMER FEED MILL Complete Poultry and Livestock Feeds, Equipment and Health Products
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 18 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Photo-Periodic Mayan Bean PlantsBy Felix Tzul and Dottie FeuchtThe Mayan tradition of saving beans from each years harvest for planting the following season includes some that are photo-periodic plants, i.e., light sensitive to either short days or long days. The beans Felix Tzul plants in late September blossom during the time of year when we have short days end of the year. As a matter of fact, he says they blossom in late November or December almost regardless of when they are planted. the end of the year, but the harvest is scanty because of a very short vegetative development period before blossom initiates. Cultivars planted in August have a prolonged vegetative development period; the vines are well-developed with plenty of biomass which is conducive to fungal attack, especially if planted in areas where there is a lot of rainfall or excessive moisture during the nights. The characteristic of producing abundant biomass during increasing day length makes these varieties suitable for green manure. On Mountain Pine Ridge Road, where Felix plants, the ideal time to plant for a good harvest is late September or early October. Planting at this time reduces the vegetative development period allowing better air circulation between rows and plants, hence reducing the incidence of fungal diseases. Felix said the traditional method of planting when he was growing up was to plant the beans near the stem of growing clumps of corn in the month of August to take advantage of the corn stalk for these pole beans to use for climbing. When corn was harvested in September/October and the stalks were bent, the bean crop was left free to develop fully on the standing in December. Now Felix uses 4 inch diameter posts spaced 10 feet apart and connects the posts with recycled telephone or TV cable for the beans to climb on. The insulation on the wire prevents it from rusting; so it can be used again. Even planting different varieties of beans close together does not alter their type; they retain their true characteristics. The method of harvesting when Felix was growing up was to harvest the ripe bean pods and sun dry them in their pods. Another traditional option was to hang the harvested ripe clusters of bean pods on wire in the kitchen where the smoke preserved them. Beans dried in this manner have less weevil attack and cook fast and soft. Beans sundried without their pods become hardened and take longer to cook; they have a hard consistency long water beans theyre called. The Felix is trying to preserve six Mayan varieties that are being overlooked by farmers who opt for other foreign varieties that are not photo-periodic and are highly productive for commercialization. Five of those being preserved by Felix are photo-periodic: 1. Bolok Ch a rounded, full black bean with a unique and changes from green to mauve. Bolok in Maya means to cover over. 2. Pascua or Christmas a small red bean that ripens in December (hence the name) to a beautiful red color. The dry beans cook to a soft texture but the soup does not thicken. When dried, the bean pods lose their beautiful red color and become brown and shriveled exposing each bean clinging to the interior as though vacuum-packed. 3. Chac Tzam a small bean with varying hues. Chac means red in Maya but the language has words for only basic colors; so this bean is called red although it is closer to purple in color. Its pod is about 6 inches long, producing more beans per pod than the shorter pods. 4. Boox Tzam a black, almost kidney-shaped bean, pod turns from green to white/cream color with purple streaks (tzitzib sol). 5. shaped. X in front of a Mayan word means it is feminine gender; tch lat means rib. This bean gets its name from the shape of its 8 to 9 inch long pod that looks like a rib. The pod ripens to a deep purple, almost black color. 6. Xme-hn b ul a small black bean with a narrower and smaller pod than the Bolok Ch. Me-hn means small in Maya. The pod has 5 to 6 bean seeds inside. The Xmehn is the only one of these beans that is not photo-periodic; it can be planted any time of the year as long as there is rain or adequate moisture in the soil from irrigation. Felix
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 19 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Ask Rubber BootsFLEAS BE GONE! Too Simple to Believe, But It Worked for Us! Dear Rubber Boots, control for dogs? Signed, Desperate Dog-lover Dear Desperate, Last summer, an Ag Report reader shared with us her home we had to try it before we shared it with you. Our reader prevention on her house pets (dog/cats, all in glowing health) or around her home for over 20 years (in Belize and Mexico). Now that was just too good to be true. Its also available in Belize and inexpensive. Her secret? Brewers yeast! Here are her simple instructions and our results. It was September, and our 3 large shepherd-type dogs (each weighing approximately 120 pounds) were badly infested with and around our home with various chemicals and giving the advised to begin with a higher-than-maintenance dose for their regular dry food, thinking they would dislike the strong aroma of the yeast, but we were wrong. They love it! The dosage of 2 Tbs. per dog did give them slightly loose stools as we had been forewarned and after 30 days we dropped back to 1 Tbs. per large dog. Their digestive systems immediately double dose. In the 4 months since going on their reduced (1 per day of brewers yeast per 45 pounds of dogs body weight, which is close to the dosage we are using. We suggest you work out what may be a dose high enough to deter the pests, and low enough not to disturb your pets digestion. We purchase our Nutritional Yeast Flakes at Reimers Health Food Store in Spanish Lookout. Our last purchase of a pound in a plastic bag there cost $29.25 Bz. We have kept it for 3 to 4 months in a plastic container unrefrigerated, with no apparent loss of effectiveness for our purposes. One pound yields approximately 6 cups, which is 96 tablespoons or 288 teaspoons. The cost then for our large dogs on their maintenance doses is just over 30 cents /day per dog, or $9.14/ month /per dog. The cost for a 45 pound dog at 1 teaspoon per day would be 10 cents per day, or $3.05 per month. Why does this work? We offer the explanation that brewers yeast is an excellent source of B vitamins, and other nutrients this addition to our dogs regimens, they are shinier, slicker and overall in excellent condition. (We have experienced similar improvements of conditioning in horses when fed alfalfa hay, famous for nutrients sourced by its 10+ ft deep roots.) Perhaps simply keeping your dog in a state of supernote that the writers of this column are not vets and make no claims or warranties for any treatments. This column is simply a sharing of successful experiences. Also, although this appears to inhibit ticks in dogs, we caution readers NOT to try this with horses, due to their very sensitive digestive systems. RUBBER BOOTS wants to hear from you! Please do write us and share with us your experiences and ideas. We will print or withhold your name as contributor, as decided by you.
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 20 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Humates Increase Crop YieldBy Maruja VargasHumates are highly compressed, natural humus, the decayed remains of tropical rain forests which existed millions of years ago in what is now the southwestern United States. The minerals and trace elements contained in humates and in the soil are readily available to plants through organic complexing. Since humates are completely decomposed, they enter into no nutritional competition with plants for nutrients such as nitrogen. Because they are already a part of a certain organic structure, the chelate complexes with microelements of humates can penetrate into the cell more easily than ordinary ions. The humates increase the penetrability of a cell membrane and, as a result, are conducive to potassium retention in intra-cell additional energy supply, a photosynthesis process in the cells proceeds more intensively, leading to an increased amount of chlorophyll. A determining factor in plants growth, nitrogen assimilation proceeds more rapidly, and nitrate formation is averted. All together, it leads to an increase in crop capacity. Humates can improve root development, total leaf area and total crop yields per acre. A consistent result from all crops tested was increased root growth. Length, density, and radius of plant roots dramatically increased. Tests have shown that root system vigor is very important to the nutrient uptake capability of plants, as well as to the plants ability to combat disease. The biochemically active nature of humic acid works to enhance a plants natural defenses against toxins and disease. Many toxins are inhibited or neutralized directly by bonding interactions with humic acids. Finally, plants which are healthy and receive all of their required nutrients are better able to combat disease and pests. Application Methods Pre-planting treatment of seeds and potato tubers is a highly before germination begins, vital forces are awakened, and the immune system is stimulated. A young sprout develops a strong root system, and its endurance increases. a result of humate treatment, the root length of the plants increased by 2.5 times, and average stem length increased twice, in comparison with the control group. Similar results were obtained in the course of other research and were The treatment of seeds is particularly important for potatoes. Soaking the potato tubers in the humate solution prior to planting is practically the only necessary operation in treatment of potatoes, especially since spraying the vegetating potato plants can lead to growth of the over-ground parts of the plant at the expense of the tubers development. combined humic (HA) and fulvic acid (FA) content, the of 100 kg/ha (88 lbs./ac.). For foliar applications at the rate of 500g HA and FA per HA and FA extract of oxidized lignite, the amount required would be about 8.5 liters per hectare (about 1 gallon per acre). that. Vendors have suggested rates ranging from 1/2 gallon to 3 gallons (4 to 26 liters per hectare). Oxidized lignites vary not only in the total amount of humic substances, they also vary in the relative proportion split between humic acids and fulvic acids depending on the source of the mined humate deposits. Test plots are underway in Belize at this time. For more information call M. Vargas 600-2853 or email to amar. firstname.lastname@example.org
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 21 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Detecting Dogs.... Continued from page 3 fairly fast and dont have to look for visual cues, says Gottwald. Using dogs to detect canker and other diseases is cheaper than using polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods. I think using dogs would be comparable or cheaper than using human detecting dog services, he says, It will be less expensive overall in price because dogs can cover larger areas faster and the accuracy level is higher, resulting in greater savings. EARLIER DETECTION detecting dogs is that they can detect much earlier levels of disease than humans. Dogs are identifying canker so early that we can reduce the number of trees in a grove that are infected by treating them early, so the disease doesnt spread as much. When humans detect canker, there may be other areas that are infected, but not showing visible signs yet. Since dogs detect by scent, visual symptoms on the trees or fruit are not a factor. I think the earliness of detection will change the industry completely, predicts Peruyero. Our ultimate goal is to provide and savings for the farmer. UP NEXT This projet was taken on with the understanding that it would be a stepping stone to dogs detecting greening, says Peruyero. We are moving forward with that, and I think we will achieve to detect greening and ready to go. Will dogs be able to detect canker and greening simultaneously? How dogs are trained will depend on what the industry wants and needs, he says. Peruyero is seeking industry input on how his dogs can best serve and become established in the citrus industry. For example, hell need to know at what stage in the growing or packing process the dogs whould be utilized, and how frequently. There is some development that still needs to go on, but this has a lot of possibilities, not just for canker, but for HLB, says Gottwald. A group of dogs in California has been used very successfully for detection of wine grape mealybug. Gottwald cautions that there are limitations to using the dogs. He says dogs cant be deployed in the grove when there is wind or on a very hot day when the dogs are panting, but they are easily used in the packing house to detect canker-infected fruit in boxes. We need to look more at how to keep dogs cool in the More research is planned. In the future, we will study lesions of different ages, but for now, it appears that dogs dont seem to discriminate between old land new lesions, says Gottwald. Well also see if there are any cultivar or species differences in detecting. I think it is a burgeoning technology for detecting canker. The detector dog is another potential tool in the toolbox for the growers arsenal. Note: Citrus canker has not been detected in Belize, but HLB is present.
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 22 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize The Sustainable Integrated Eco-FarmIncreasing Yields per Acre by Growing Skyward By Maruja Vargas products it contains is the densely populated tropical forest. The intensity of production is created in the use of the vertical growth area unlike the savanna, grasslands, or the commercial mono cropping of grains which can be classed as horizontal growth crops. And...the variety of plant species that co-exist enhance the health of their neighbors. We can learn much by studying the use of the vertical growing area in terms of increasing yield of vital nutrients per horizontal acre of land. The phrase vertical farming was coined by Gilbert Ellis Bailey in 1915: Vertical Farming... The farmer farms deeper and goes down (or up) to increase area, and to secure larger crops. Instead of spreading out over more land, he concentrates on less land and becomes an intensive rather than an extensive agriculturist. The farmer soon learns that it is double the area of his holdings. Vertical farming is based on the cultivation and harvesting of tree crops. The advantages of tree cropping are many. Trees are, in the main, perennials and therefore self-renewing. Once established, the crop tree requires maintenance as opposed to replanting each season as one does with horizontal crops such as grains. While pasture grass is certainly a perennial as well, the protein content is on the low side in comparison to most crop trees. recharging the soils as they produce their crops. When intercropped with pasture grass for example, the leguminous tree enhances the companion production of the grass by the addition of valued naturally-produced nitrogen by the legume to the grass, in turn naturally increasing the quality of the grass, without the addition of costly fertilizers. the fact that leguminous trees typically are sources of highly concentrated proteins, packed with minerals and vitamins, desirable for animal concentrated feeds. The production of in comparison to horizontal grain crops. For example, the leucaena tree intercropped with pasture grass with rows 20 feet apart, increases the protein yield of the protein uptake and weight gain of cattle, while the feed cost is reduced over cattle fed grain. Another major advantage to tree cropping to those farming in the tropics is the drought tolerance of most tree crops. This is due to the large established root system as well as the genetic variety, most of which are indigenous to the tropics. Some tree crops can be farmed by mechanization. For example, Nicaragua has been row cropping moringa olefeira for some 15 years. They harvest with a sickle mower periodically and feed the fodder to dairy cows. The milk production was of the moringa to the feeding regime. Here in Belize there is a splendid example of intercropping and vertical farming, the result of many years of work at San Lorenzo Farms, Cayo District. First cleared in 1922 by acre farm is a sustainable, integrated farming model that is also superbly ecological. The acreage was assembled by the Hannas and designed originally as an integrated, vertically Salima. The tradition of this 80-year old eco-farm is carried on by his three grandsons, Santiago, Dominic and Daniel. Santiago maintains the grasses and tree crops. Dominic works the dairy and cheese fabrication while Daniel is developing a dairy goat herd to be sustained on vertical crops. One of the amazing aspects of San Lorenzo is the preserved wildlife corridors interconnected with three reserves that exist along side lush multi-cropped pastures, coffee, organic of mature guanacaste originally reforested by the senior Mr. the coffee plantation on the edge of the Mopan River and is one of the most elegant and beautiful stands of guanacaste seen in Belize. The pods of the guanacaste are edible to cattle and horses, and complement the dietary regimen during the dry season when grass growth is lowest. Many species of birds are supported in the wilderness areas. The reserves leading to the rivers edge provide cover for wildlife as well as respite for cattle. San Lorenzos protein banks of bay cedar, moringa, and nacedero (origin: Columbia) are densely planted three feet on centers several rows deep on either side of meandering horse or foot paths, providing relaxing cool shade for trail rides from Hannas Stables to Xunantunich as well as easy access for harvesting leaves. The numerous protein banks on the farm are an intense production of high protein materials for Continued on Page 23
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 23 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Cassava... Continued from page 4 least two different methods of planting cassava. Cassava stems are cut with a machete in pieces approximately eighteen inches long. Some people insist that stems must be planted in a cross pattern using two stems with the stems crossed at the halfway point planting the lower stem underground. Others insist that the best way to plant is to lay the stems horizontally approximately six inches apart under 3-4 of soil. Many local farmers I have interviewed claim that a greater yield is had by the horizontal planting method. It takes approximately six to eight months with no tending needed for the plant to be ready to harvest. Tubers may be kept for storage underground as once harvested cassava tubers tend to rapidly deteriorate. Cassava is used as a food security crop in times of famine. A loaf of cassava bread can last up to one year without refrigeration. Vast quantities of cassava roots are made into chips and dried then stored until ready to be cooked. Cassava is grown in Belize and is a staple food for the Garifuna culture. In the Garifuna language there are at least ten different words for cassava in all its forms. In Dangriga the Sabal family has operated a small-scale tubers at a time to make cassava into bread. The cassava tubers are peeled, grated, rinsed and squeezed by compression, then dried and cooked on an outdoor stove on Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each week. The Belize City. Cassava bread can last for months without refrigeration. One of the Sabal family members, Eddie Sabal, said the family has private tours upon request and said in addition to cassava bread, the family and workers make farina for sale. blemish free roots. Store as you would potatoes in a cool dark place for up to one week. Peeled root covered with water and refrigerated or wrapped tightly and frozen will keep for several months. Cassava is simple to grow and once planted requires little tending. It is quite a showy plant. It does well in all kinds of soil as long as the climate is warm. So, enjoy cassava in all its forms and recipes but dont forget the importance of properly preparing and cooking cassava before eating or drinking cassava products or beverages. Cassava is generally available in the San Ignacio famers pound. The thinner tubers are used for soup and other food items, while the larger thicker roots are generally used to make bread.Ecofarm.... Continued from page 22supplementing the feeding of dairy cows and horses. These supplements replace the need to horizontally farm grains such as corn and milo. Hence the protein productivity of the acre is greatly enhanced by vertical cropping. Taiwan long-grass pastures are co-cropped with leguminous materials such as kutzu that both enhance the dietary structure of the pasture while nitrogen-enriching the soil. uptake of the forage. Crop rotation is regularly practiced among all of the paddocks, rotating potatoes, carrots, grasses, beans and other vegetables, balancing and replenishing soil nutrients for highest quality of production from the paddock in each ensuing season. Fence boundaries are all lined with productive trees such moringa, leucaena and chaya as well as Norfolk pine for future timber. A chayamansa forest feeds the pigs. Chickens without the use of any grain supplements and free range part of the day for high nutrient egg production. Moringa, high in calcium and protein, is now being row cropped for cutting to allow the expansion of the bovine and caprine dairy operations in the production of prime quality organic milk products. San Lorenzo uses no chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. The ecological balance is totally maintained by the intelligent and studied management of the farm and constant attention to the rebuilding of the soils. Three generations of farmers have succeeded in creating and maintaining a breathtaking masterwork of agricultural sustainability that is as beautiful as it is functional. Hannas San Lorenzo integrated eco-farm indeed serves us all as a working model for a sustainable, integrated farm that is also supremely ecological. Moringa
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 24 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize UB Lab .... Continued from page 1 Use of Micropropagated Plants in Belize laboratory will be used to establish plantations in the sugar and the banana industries. The Ministry of Agriculture has expressed interest in working with UB to use this technology to supply small-scale farmers with high quality plantain, pineapple and cocoyam plantlets; the production of ornamentals, such as orchids, is also being considered. and the Banana Growers Association (BGA) to ensure that the laboratory can meet their needs to the production of micropropagated plants. From December 2011, sugar cane planting sets and shoots were collected from the SIRDI plots near Orange Walk and used to establish similar plots at the Central Farm UB campus and to introduce shooting material into culture in the lab. In November, discussions were also held with members of the Banana Growers Association to discuss their needs for plantlets from the lab; work to introduce plantain into culture optimizing the plant production protocols before they move into the large-scale plant production phase. What is Micropropagation? Micropropagation is a method that produces large quantities of disease-free, uniform, quality planting material in a short space of time for quick plantation establishment. Many commercial crop production industries around the world are now using micropropagated plants; if maintained properly, these plantations often produce higher yields than plantations established with conventional planting material. In micropropagation systems plants are grown in sterile conditions on a culture media, in glass or plastic vessels, nutrients required for rapid plant growth and to produce the required type of growth, different plant hormones are added at different stages: cytokinins are added to stimulate shoot development and auxins are added to stimulate root growth. Depending on the plant species, plant cultures can be subcultured, into new vessels, every 20-25 days with an expected multiplication rate of 3 to 5 times. Stages of Micropropagation Micropropagation is divided into 4 stages: Establishment, Multiplication, Rooting and Hardening (or acclimatization). To establish the cultures plant material is collected from the growing tip of the plant, known as the meristem, is removed and placed in a test tube on culture establishment media for around 30 days before being transferred onto multiplication media. The multiplication media contains cytokinin which encourages the plants to produce shoots and these cultures can be sub-divided or multiplied roughly 4 or 5 times every 25 days. Cultures can remain in the multiplication phase for up to six cycles before entering the root production phase where the plantlets are placed on medium containing the plant hormone auxin. Plant culture vessels have high humidity so plants growing in them have very thin cuticles. If these plants were transferred wilt and die. The hardening or acclimatization process ensures the plant is adapted to the outside environment by passing them gradually through several stages, from high period of two months. Technology from Cuba UB is collaborating with the Society of Engineering and Technical Sugar Services (Tecnoazucar) from Havana, Cuba. Tecnoazucar are providing specialists from their National Institute for Sugar Cane Research (INICA) to work with UB to transfer the technology to produce sugarcane and banana micropropagated plantlets. The specialists will introduce to Belize a micropropagation method called temporary immersion bioreactor system or TIBS. TIBS bathes the plants in a liquid nutrient media for short periods of time to give a multiplication rate that is higher (potentially 9x every 15 days) than on solid media. Crops for MicroPropagation in Belize micropropagation technology but the initial work of the micropropagation lab at the University of Belize will be with sugarcane and bananas. Sugar Cane Micropropagation of sugar cane will be used to introduce new superior varieties into Belize and to clean-up (make diseasefree) varieties that are currently widely used by sugar cane farmers in the country. Sugar cane nurseries will be established by SIRDI, in Orange Walk, using sugar cane micropropagated plants and the nurseries will provide farmers with high quality stem cuttings for planting. Bananas Conventional banana planting methods, using suckers, have can spread diseases and root nematodes, and can often result in a plantation with varying sized trees, making management The use of micropropagated banana plantlets will provide disease-free, uniform plantings that will produce consistently higher yields. UB is collaborating with the Banana Growers Association in this work. For more information on this initiative from the University of Belize contact the campus in Central Farm. Sugarcane varieties being selected for introduction into culture from SIRDI research plots in Orange Walk Temporary immersion bioreactor technology will be introduced from Cuba
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 25 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Theobroma bicolor: False White Cacaoby Beth Roberson With high expectations I drove from San Ignacio to Punta Gorda town, to collect 13 white cacao pods which someone had harvested for me from the wilds of Toledo. 13 pods times 34 seeds each(which Cayo District whites had yielded) = 442, fresh cacao seeds and at roughly 300+ trees per acre, could mean almost an acre and half of whites, without grafting. Even with unknown potential yields, the possibility of recovering a bit of the rare native white cacao genetics and planting the ancient lines was exciting. All cacaos are Theobroma (oats of the gods, commonly translated as food of the gods) cacao. The main cultivar in Belize is the well known Trinitario (Theobroma cacao Trinitario). Toledo Cacao Growers Association (TCGA) has foreign buyers keen to purchase up to 10 times the current is the highly desirable Trinitario. The beans, when cut in half, are a lovely purplish color. In colonial times, the native Mesoamerican variety, the true white cacao, Theobroma cacao Criollo, was grown here and also exported to Caribbean island plantations. As with many crops grown in monoculture, disease devastated them. In Trinidad, a cross was made between the more fragile Mesoamerican white Criollo type, and the hardier Brazilian Amazonian type, the Forestero. The new and hardier type created and known as Trinitario was There are few producers of Criollo worldwide. Tobasco is t raise exclusively white cacao. Reputedly, all of Mexicos white beans are exported, mainly to Europe. There are no white cacao farms in Belize. There are a few wild trees in several of our national parks, guarded by those in the know. The Criollo cacao bean is white because there are no tannins in it. Tannins are plant compounds that cause a biting sensation when eaten. A fresh Criollo bean, when cut, is a clean ivory color that quickly turns rusty brown from oxidation. The Criollo fruit that surrounds the beans that I have tasted is slightly bitter. This can be made into a traditional Maya drink at harvest time. The beans when planted, turn a lovely deep mint green; as the cotyleydons pop up through the soil its an unreal almost neon colorblast. Trinitario seedlings, by contrast, are a tasty brown color. I have never tasted In Belize, many folks call another plant, which is also a Theobroma, white cacao. This is Theobroma bicolor, a relative of cacao but not chocolate. I call this False White Cacao as it is commonly mistaken for the true white cacao. Its known in southern Belize as balam, in Guatemala and Mexico as pataxte and as mocambo in Brazil. Balam, which is white, has a slightly different shape from cacao and does not require fermenting. The pods are quite exotic looking and cover a light yellow pod which later turns tan color. There and can be made into a drink and the beans can be roasted as nuts. Raw the taste is unexciting. Some chocolatiers roast them for an added texture and depth to their concoctions. I did not roast mine; I planted them. The balam seedlings are quite bizarre looking, crinkled up like little bib lettuces, and strikingly mirroring their parents' ribbing on the pod exterior. Theobroma bicolor is grown in other Central American countries as a shade tree for coffee and cacao. But do not be confused; Theobroma bicolor although fascinating, is not cacao. The 13 pods I retrieved in Punta Gorda? Theobroma bicolor all! *note: the white chocolate squares found in North American super markets may be a slight misnomer too. Beans are separated at processing into cocao fats and cocao solids. The antioxidants are in the solids. The common white squares are cocao butter mixed with sugar and milk. Read the label.
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 26 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Local and Regional Fuel Prices Belmopan, Belize Quintana Roo, Mexico Peten, Guatemala REGULAR $11.37 Bz/Gal $6.00 Bz/Gal $10.28 Bz/Gal PREMIUM $11.64 Bz/Gal $6.50 Bz/Gal $10.56 Bz/Gal DIESEL $10.76 Bz/Gal $6.22 Bz/Gal $9.45 Bz/Gal JUST BECAUSE WE INCREASE THE SPEED OF INFORMATION, DOESNT MEAN WE CAN INCREASE THE SPEED OF DECISIONS. PONDERING, REFLECTING AND RUMINATING ARE UNDERVALUED SKILLS IN OUR CULTURE.DALE DAUTEN, ACRES USA MAGAZINE, JAN 2011 CattleLocal and Export Oriented Phone: 501 822-3883 BELIZE LIVESTOCKPRODUCERS ASSOCIATION AG BRIEFSMany citrus exporting nations, including Belize, have had their juices subjected to testing for CARBENDAZIM since residues for the fungicide were found on orange juice from South America. All of Belizes tests have come back negative, which is not surprising since the product is not licensed for citrus here. There is one product containing carbendazim (in combination with epoziconazole): Duett 25 SC,(label can be googled) which is registered with Belizes PCB (Pesticides Control Board) for use as a fungicide for rice, peanuts and coffee. U.S. exports of farm equipment to Central America as reported by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, rd largest purchaser worldwide. #1 buyer was Canada with $3.4B and #2 slot Australia with $1.1B. (all USD) November 2011: Perus Congress announced Friday it overwhelmingly approved a 10-year moratorium on in order to safeguard the countrys biodiversity. The measure bars GMOs for cultivation or to be raised locally. El Salvadors Minister of Health asks for international help to combat a mysterious epidemic of chronic kidney disease (CKD) which, as Salvadors 2nd largest cause of death among men, is wasting away our populations. HIV and diabetes combined. The epidemic is affecting farm and rural workers, mainly on cane show signs of high blood pressure or diabetes which are the sufferers have in common is that they all work in farming, and he questions if a major cause of their kidney damage might be the toxic chemicals, pesticides and herbicides that are routinely used there. He claims that chemicals which are banned in the USA, Europe and Canada are used here, without any protection. Regional sugar giants are studying the issue and one researcher hypothesizes that the causes may BLPA held its annual AGM on November 29, 2011. Abdala Plett and Alvin Stephenson were elected as directors and the Dyck as Vice-Chairman, Fred Hunter Sr. as Treasurer and that The Belize National Sanitary Cattle Plan Project ary. This is a move forward towards implementation of the cattle sweep and legal exportation of cattle. The new Project Director for this is Ms. Marina Rosado.
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 27 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize
MAR APR 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 28 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize