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AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 1 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize The Belize Ag Report Belizes most complete independent agricultural publication Running W pg. 11 Queen Honeybee pg. 3 Using the Refractometer pg. 18 Making Mozzarella pg. 22 Using eBird pg. 16 Tally Me Bananas pg. 8 Rice Field Day pg. 23 AUG SEPT 2013 ISSUE 22 Mammee Apple pg. 15 Cacao Forum pg. 3 UAVs in Belize pg. 21TAIWAN International Cooperation and Development Fund Technical Mission of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Xate pg. 9 Tilapia Hatchery Pg. 24 www.belcar.bz Spanish Lookout 823-0318
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 2 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize 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, Mangos, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.belizespicefarm.com Nursery plants on sale til end of Chocolate Festival May 26th 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
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 3 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Opportunities and Global Perspective of Cacao for Belize Cacao Field Day and ForumBy Dottie FeuchtThe market for chocolate couldnt be better. There 60,000 metric tons. Just at the time that production is decreasing in the two main exporter countries of Ghana and Brazil the demand is increasing by 3% per year, creating a wonderful market opportunity for Belize. This was the theme of the forum held in Toledo on June 12, 2013. The forum developed from an idea that the U.S. Ambassador, H.E. VinaiThummalapally, had when he visited Toledo cacao producers in February. Having heard about Belizes excellent chocolate quality in places hes visited and seeing the potential for the chocolate produced in Toledo he contacted Mr. Jose Alpuche, CEO of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture (MNRA), and Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim, Country Director of InstitutoInteramericano de Cooperation para la Agricultura (IICA), and Mr. Anhil Sinha of Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI), to sponsor the forum. In addition to the sponsoring organizations, the stakeholders included members of the Toledo Cacao Growers Association (TCGA), the Toledo Agriculture Development Association (TADA), cacao farmers and processors. The group visited the headquarters and farm of the TCGA where they saw seedlings being grafted and prepared for planting, cacao beans fermenting and being dried and heard about the training being offered to the local cacao farmers. Spokesman, Marco Figueroa said the farmers have learned how for improved production. According to Armando Choco, head of TCGA, the number of TCGA farmers has increased from 270 to 800 over the last several years but the production levels are more impressive. Even with 400 acres left to graft, TCGAs production increased from 55 tons in 2011 to 88 tons in 2012. Marco estimates that 30% of the trees produce 70% of the crop but with new trees coming along he expects a large spurt in production. It takes only 2 years for a grafted tree to start producing cacao. In 2004 cacao all over Central America was hit with the Moniliarorens fungus. rehabilitation; Belize was the only country to contain the blight. TCGA is also doing research on using biochar for fertilizer. All the cacao in Toledo is grown organically which has caught the attention of buyers. They are willing to pay top dollar for Belizes recognized top quality organic chocolate. Having recently returned from a nationwide food show in the U.S., Mara Jernigan, chef and general manager of Bel-Campo, said that people are becoming increasingly knowledgeable and very interested in the source of their food and are turning to organically grown food. She believes the organic market niche is wide open year that a 100% Belizean chocolate bar is being entered in a worldwide competition. Although chocolate bars are produced in Belize, the bar for the competition was made in the U.S. Emily Stone, co-founder and general manager of Maya Mountain Cacao (MMC) Ltd., currently has 5 customers in the U.S. who buy every pound of cacao beans they produce. MMC buys 2500 pounds of wet (unfermented and undried) beans per day from farmers. At the MMC facility at Cotton Tree Lodge they are processed by fermentation and drying before being sorted, polished, packaged and hermetically sealed manually in bags of special material for export. Toledo is the ideal place for growing cacao, which needs shade and good soil for the best quality and highest production. A few areas in Cayo District that have cacao production potential have also from the wood. Cacao beans in the boxes are covered with banana or jipijapa leaves to retain the heat. Each day the beans must be stirred by hand. To manage the fermentation process the bean boxes are rotated from the highest of three levels to the next lower level every two days for a total of 6 days in the fermentation shed. The liquid that drains from the beans is not currently used in a product but has potential for some enterprising experimenter. The hardwoods, Sapodilla, Santa Maria and Sam wood, which grow abundantly in Toledo, are used for the drying racks. Not all woods can be used; pine, for example, reacts with the beans. Experience has shown that drying time can be done in 4 10 days roof of the drying facility is plastic to maximize sunlight and the At MMC extensive data collection is done. Each batch in the data that become a permanent part of the record for the batch Although there are 10 varieties, less than 2% of the world supply of cacao is the most favored Criollo with its white seed and unique were the primary sources, over 75% of the world supply was the and Forestero were combined, creating the Trinitario variety, in efforts to bolster disease resistance. This occurred in Trinidad over 200 yrs ago, after a disastrous blight to the more fragile Criollos; hence the name. It is the Trinitario variety that is being grown commercially in Toledo. The forum met its goal to share information and experience among cacao stakeholders. A keen interest has been generated to grow and process organic cacao in Belize.
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 4 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Mission Statement:The Belize Ag Report is an independent bi-monthly 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. The Belize Ag Report, P.O. Box 150, San Ignacio, Cayo District, Belize, Central America Telephone: 663-6777 (please, no text, no voicemail)Editor & Publisher: Beth Gould Roberson Special Editor: Dottie Feucht Printed by BRC Printing, Benque Viejo, Cayo District, Belize Submissions as follows: Letters to the Editor, Ads & Articles to: firstname.lastname@example.org Deadlines for submissions: 10th of the month prior to publication. 5 Issues per year visitors to the GPMP booth, 71% of the respondents registered concern about pesticides residues in the vegetables they consume. 55% of those surveyed thought the farmer is responsible for the safety of local farm products, and 28% think that the government is responsible. 92% said that they would feel safer consuming vegetables from farmers that have been recognized under the GPMP-FRI; 71% said that they would be willing to pay more when buying produce from GPMP-FRI farmers.Continued on page 5 Please support the GPMP-FRI in your district! Good Pesticide Management Practices Execution Progress and Future WorkBackgroundThe Good Pesticides Management Practices Farmer Recognition Initiative (GPMPFRI) commenced in November 2012 and is an interagency collaborative initiative undertaken to promote and recognize good pesticide management practices among volunteer farmers by bringing into focus the potential sources of agrochemical contamination for horticultural products The initiative is expected to improve the competitiveness of participating local farmers through a scheme that will award public recognition to those in compliance with the GPMPFRIs requirements. Farmers compliance is monitored and recorded by way of a toolkit which was developed based on sampling activities, the initiative also has a farmer assistance component whereby volunteer farmers are provided with basic information and training in pesticide management and application practices. Tangible support in the form of personal other tools to improve pesticide management practices on the farm also form part of assistance offered to volunteer farmers.Execution ProgressPresently there are twenty-three active volunteer farmers countrywide that are being evaluated under this initiative. After receiving training in good pesticide management practices, collaborator farmers developed their planting plans in each district visit farmers 2-3 times per month, assisting farmers in record keeping and providing technical assistance the farmers 3 days before harvest and sent to the BAHA central lab for the pesticide residues screening test. A total of 132 lab samples are reported to have been processed by BAHA from February to July. Of these samples, 3 samples were detected with organophosphate residues, 0 with carbamate residues and 8 with fungicide residues. In these instances, farmers are advised to postpone their harvest according to their pesticide application record and the post-harvest interval. Farmers practices are monitored using the toolkit checklist. Three inspections will be conducted for each farmer to monitor his understanding of the pesticide label, safe handling, storage and transport of pesticides, equipment management, record management and care of environment. In a recent questionnaire survey at the National Agriculture and Trade Show (3 5 May 2013) among 280 countrywide
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 5 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize TO THE EDITOREditor's note: The Belize Ag Report acknowledges and respects the need for dialogue among the agricultural community. Publication of a letter or an article does not indicate endorsement by The Belize Ag Report of the views and content therein. Good Morning Beth, I just wanted to say that I read every Belize paper every day and the Ag Report is the best of them all. Real stuff. Stuff that can help the country and our neighborhoods. NO POLITICS. Its manna from heaven. Thanks again. Marty Casado BelizeNews.com ****************************************************** Bill Lindo responds to Vernon's Response Issue 21 page 5Dear Harry Vernon, I refer to your letter to the editor in issue # 21 in The Belize Ag Report on my subject Energetic Agriculture. You stated that I lack understanding of the subjects chemistry and soil sciences. If you mean that as it relates today to the teaching in schools and universities, then you are correct. The schools teach a pseudoscience in obedience to the corporate masters. God made the universe and nature is a product of Gods action. As human beings we have a job to try and understand how nature works and discover its laws. In trying to understand Gods nature, we can never look at it in a linear-entropic way. This foolishness that the whole is just the sum of the parts is wrong to physical reality. The whole is always greater than the sum of the parts. My friend, you lack understanding of nature because nature is not chemistry. Nature in regards to agriculture is made up of chemistry and biology -physics is the bridge that joins them. You need to know all three and their relationship to each other. meanings. My use is a nutrient-dense food is a food that delivers a complete nutritional package of the 80 or more elements required by a healthy human being. Rescue chemicals are the poison chemicals used as insecticides, Kendo, and Glyphosate. And, Harry, garlic and onion spray is not a rescue chemical. Rescue chemicals kill the soil, animals and humans; and they never work for more than 4 years. Nature always defeats them. I suggest you read the current article in issue # 22 to see who Prof. Phil Callahan is. You must know that Gods nature DOES NOT obey your Laws of Thermodynamics because it is false to physical reality. The universe is not like a mechanical clock which winds up and winds down over time and it will not go to its heat-death. Gods universe is non-entropic as are all living things. Kelvin, Clasius and others like them who serve the Oligarchy are just as dishonest as Malthus, Smith, and Ricardo were in political economy. They all wrote that no matter what you do capitalism will destroy itself, so best let unlimited consumption of the oligarchy be the order of the day, while the useless eaters die. The concept is the same heat-death foolishness. Einstein and Neils Bohr both reject your law of thermodynamics. I know of what I speak Harry. God is the basis of life! Life is the basis of energy! Plants grow by energy, period. The fertilizers, when they react with each other as cations and cations, or anions and anions, or cations and anions, give energy. Time is not important to plants. The secret is to balance the mineral content of the soil, then use energy and biology to grow the plant free of insects and diseases, so that we humans who eat the plant get as many elements (nutrients) as we can from the plant. Continues on Page 7Good Pesticide ...Continued from page 4Future Work ceremony is expected to take place after August 2013, while a regional seminar is planned for November 2013 to share the initiatives experience in working with a group of volunteer farmers for the recognition of improved pesticide management practices aimed at a safer food supply for consumers. To share the progress of the initiative and to raise awareness of pesticide residues and pesticide management, the GPMPFRI team will be conducting a series of talk shows on television and radio in the upcoming months. In the month observed by members of the Coordinating Group of Pesticides Control Boards of the Caribbean (CGPC), GPMP inspectors will be setting up booths at all farmers markets countrywide to promote GPMP and to introduce volunteer farmers who will be promoting their products at the booths. GPMP inspectors will also be visiting schools in the month of September to raise awareness at that level. For more information please feel free to contact us at 8242640 or send an email to email@example.com. You can also follow us on facebook https://www.facebook.com/ pages/Gpmp-Fri/348546338600363?ref=hl
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 6 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize What Has Professor Philip S. Callahan Done for Agriculture?By Bill LindoIn issue # 21 of The Belize Ag Report I wrote that Prof Philip S. Callahan is the greatest scientist is this 90 year old scientist and teacher? Prof. Callahan has written over 18 books and published over 180 technical papers in various journals. Agriculture practitioners should read and study his books: Paramagnetism, Ancient Mysteries, Modern Visions, and The Soul of the Ghost Moth. He got his Ph.D. at Kansas State in entomology (study of insects). He wrote that his assignment under Prof. Reginald Painter was In other words, why is it that crops which are grown on healthy soils never attract diseases and insects. He wrote that it took him 40 years to discover the answer and he also discovered how insects communicate. The results of his insect angry that he over-turned their pet Theory of Olfaction. But the United States government was very happy about his discoveries. and University of Florida (Gainesville), he also worked for both the Dept. of Agriculture (Southern Grain Insects Research Lab & USDA Insect Attractant and Behavior Lab) and the Defense Department for over 30 years. He has tested and done research on every insecticide, herbicide and fungicide known to man up to the year 1990. He holds According to his proven insight into Gods nature, insect sensory mechanism is both infrared and olfactory; insects smell odors electronically by tuning into the narrowband infrared radiation emitted by sex, prey, and host-plant scent molecules. Molecules do not need to interact physically with receptors; the interaction Paramagnetism, the subject of why insects, such as the corn earworm moth, are attracted to certain corn plants is as follows: In other words, if the soil is healthy, and we use the correct fertilizers and amounts, the energy will contribute to a healthy plant free of diseases and insects. These discoveries by Prof. Philip S. Callahan were enough for most scientists career, but not for this brilliant seeker of natures secrets. He wrote that it was Divine Providence that led him on his next journey in seeking the secrets of good soils. Paramagnetism is a physical force. It is detailed in every physics handbook in the world, but it took Dr. Callahan to discover, or as he wrote, rediscover the real importance of this low-energy force for agriculture, namely growth. Now what is this secret force of growth in plants? It is a very natural low-energy force that exists in certain soils, especially volcanic soils. The unit of measure is the g, which is the CGS unit of towards a magnet is paramagnetic. If repelled, then its diamagnetic. A good soil will read on a CGS meter from 120 to 3,000 CGS, but it really means 3,000 x 10-6, or 3,000/1,000,000 of a CGS. The words and imply very, very weak and the USDA lab at Gainesville, Prof Callahan has proven that any soil that is healthy (primary, secondary & trace minerals, with good biology) will grow healthy plants, but when paramagnetic rock dust is added to that soil, the growth of the plant increases from 200% to 875%, while the use of water (irrigation) is reduced by nearly 40%. His studies also led him to the fact that where the paramagnetic force in soils was weak, chemical fertilizers and insecticides were needed. He also found out that the ancient Mayans, Chinese, Babylonians, and Egyptians knew about this mysterious force and knew how to use it for both agriculture and religious ceremonies. firstname.lastname@example.orgFarmers! Now Available in BelizeSOFT ROCK PHOSPHA TE Call: Mei Lin or Bill @ 223-2526, 624-0974, 602-2993
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 7 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Bill Lindo responds....Continued from Page 5Yes, at least 80 elements or more are needed for good human health. God created the plant so that animals and humans can live by obtaining energy from the plants. The plant is for us. This, my friend, is the basic problem with the school teachers. They teach rubbish. Sure the plant can survive with maybe 15 to 22 elements but you as a human cannot. After looking at his patients (at Boston General Hospital) die for 15 years of degenerative diseases, a medical doctor and bio-chemist named Maynard Murray discovered that the ocean contains a perfect balance of trace minerals in bio-available form to rid mankind of those dreaded diseases. He then spent years developing methods and getting patents to apply the trace elements he died in 1983, he had discovered about 67 elements needed for human health. Last year it was at 81, with the discovery of nickel as essential for plant and human health. The trace elements support the human immune system, organs, brains, and enzymatic reactions. sick. Proof? My simple question is how many friends and family members you know who died in the last ten years compared to thirty years ago of degenerative diseases. In 2009, PAHO published a report that degenerative diseases were now a major problem for Belize. This is what makes me angry our nutrient delivery system from the geological deposits, going to the soil, into our food, and system requires 1st, soil energy (including paramagnetic & fertilizer energies); 2nd, foundation minerals; 3rd, humus & biology; and will stop killing our youth our future. Three fertilizers, muriate of potash, anhydrous ammonia, and triplesuper phosphate should be banned. They destroy Gods nature, and offend our sense of justice. Signed: Bill Lindo Organic Forums Farm Tours Cooking Lessons Agriculrural Fair & ExpoThis year its bigger and better! Friday Oct 25th, 2013 & Saturday Oct 26th, 2013 In Punta Gorda Save the dates!!! To reserve a booth or for more information Contact Candido Chun Phone: 722 2010 Email: email@example.com SHI BELIZES5th Annual Organic Forum
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 8 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Beyond the backyardTally Me Bananasby Jenny WildmanDriving into my property the other neglected my banana plants looked: overcrowded, with leaves dead and perhaps even diseased. Earlier on I had passed a newly erected sign just before Riversdale advertising Bunches of Fun Banana Tours 624 4297. Now there is a good idea. So I made an advance booking for a dozen ladies who were somewhat skeptical when I asked if they would like to accompany me. Our guide, Evin, was lively, charming and eager to tell us about the farm and the importance of the banana industry to a great start with an informative video outlining banana history. Sagitun Farm is one of 24 farms in Belize owned by 9 farm owners all forming the Banana Growers Association supplying bananas to Fyffes. Although there are hundreds of varieties of the genus Musa, the Cavendish is THE banana of choice grown by the globes largest producers. Export bananas were once the variety Gros Michel or Big Mike but this was wiped out by Panama disease. The Cavendish is its replacement and it could be threatened by other possible diseases such as Black Sigatok, hence the need for strict handling and chemical control. plants. The banana is, in fact, not a tree but the worlds largest herb. If there was any dissent in my group to begin with it was soon replaced by smiles, keen interest and fascination. The ladies had lots of questions and were surprised at how little we all knew about the structure of a banana. It takes about 9 months to produce a stalk of fruit and this growing process was explained in great detail. Skilled workers demonstrated the labour intensive work that results in perfect hands of bananas worthy of the little blue sticker of Fyffes. Harry Belafonte would croon. packing plant, where the bananas are carefully handled, measured, shipping. Each cardboard box contains 40 pounds of perfect green bunches which depart from Big Creek for their 25 day voyage kept at a temperature of 58 F (14 C) to Fyffes HQ in Ireland. Later they are recommend a visit to Sagitun Farm. The bananas we get here at the market are mostly the Cavendish grade 2 unsuited for export and sometimes apple bananas. Red bananas are now becoming popular in North America offering a backyard I reviewed what I have learned and commence a new planting/maintenance regime including more varieties such as the Manzano, Nino, Burro, Red and Plantains too. All are rich in sodium, therefore good for blood pressure and the heart. Potassium helps prevent loss of calcium from the body, therefore good for your bones. Bananas contain natural sugars and are a good source of calories. All varieties differ in taste; the red banana has a higher content of beta carotene and vitamin C. You can use plantain leaves as a herb in cooking wrappers such as in tamales. You can eat the the trunk is often curried. Bananas have been cited as aids to weight loss, depression, cancer, to quit smoking, relieve constipation and have aphrodisiac capability. Banana peels can be used to reduce e.g. in rivers to reduce heavy metal contamination. Other uses for the sixties rumors spread across university campuses that dried roasted banana peels could be smoked for a psychedelic experience. Monkeys are said to go crazy for bananas yet athletes and performers delicious, nutritious and very versatile so by all means go bananas. firstname.lastname@example.org
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 9 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Xate Survival StoryBy Mary Susan Loan (pronounced SHA-tay or sha-teh) are ornamental three of the eleven palms that are part of the species. is the most familiar of the three. It is typically known by its cola de pescado, pata de vaca or rabbit ears. common name is Jade, common name is Elegans, seven feet tall, but generally fall over when they reach the height of an average man. palms grow from Mexico and Central America to Belize and Guatemala as they grow well in the shade and favorable climate of the neo-tropical rain forest. Birds and mammals of are harvested for their leaves, seeds and whole plants for the The leaves are unique as they are wilt-resistant and can stay fresh millions of fronds are cut and exported to the United States and arrangements. Plants are sold to be house and garden plants known to survive for up to forty years in an indoor environment! created a controversy in Belize and Guatemala due, in part, to unsustainable poor harvesting techniques and over-harvesting of the leaves, seeds and plants, especially in the Chiquibal reserve, which is Belizes largest forest area. Although it is illegal and cut and harvested in the forests areas of Belize and Guatemala and Belize by xateros, who are primarily men. Children and women help to sort and bind the leaves for export. It is estimated that approximately six to seven hundred xateros work for their livelihood each day gathering leaves. Many xateros in Belize a wide variety of animals for food, looting ancient Mayan ruins and poaching, trap toucans, parrots and endangered scarlet macaws. In recent years, xateros have been implicated in attacks frond fetches approximately one U.S. dollar or two Belize dollars daily wage of $5.15 U.S. dollars or $10.30 Belize dollars per day. are being assessed and improved methods of planting and harvesting are being developed by several groups including: The Rainforest Alliance (an international conservation organization), Association Forestal Integral San Andes Peten, as well as many other organizations and government groups working independently and together to conserve over 52,000 hectares of the Maya Biosphere Reserve and other areas in Belize. planting seedlings under shade trees. It takes four years for a been harvested in the wild, but may prove to be a successfully cultivated crop. However, one impediment to commercial production is the lack of a market channel for the leaves in Belize. please visit an on-line draft, Manual http://www.belizebotanic.org/xate_manual. 57 ac Farm US$ 275 K San Antonio home of 2 apartments walled garden with pool 663-6777 / 668-0749 holdfastbelize.com
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 10 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Apple Trees of Belize Featuring the Mammee AppleBy Mary Susan LoanMammee apples are not botanically apples, but have a similarity to apples and are recognized and known as apples in Belize and the other tropical countries where they are grown and enjoyed. Mammee apple, also known as mammey apple, mamey apple, coco apple, Saint Domingo apricot, mamey amarillo, South American apricot, abrico and several other names native to the tropical country of origin, produce fruits, which, despite their resemblance to apples, are botanically considered to be berries. Mammee fruits are grown from an attractive evergreen tree of the Garcinia family which resembles a magnolia tree. Mammee apples are commonly confused with Mamey Sapote of the family but are unrelated. Mammee apples are a tropical fruit related to the mangosteen. Indies and northern regions of South America. Mammee apples were already part of the local diet in Central America in the 1500s. Propagation of the trees has spread to Bermuda, Central America, Bahamas, the Caribbean and southeast parts of Florida. Mammee apple trees were introduced to Hawaii in 1816. Trees generally grow to be approximately sixty to seventy feet tall and thrive in deep, well-drained soil, but are adaptable to shallow sand terrain and grow well in limestone areas of Belize as well as in the oolitic soil of the Bahamas and southern Florida. Mammee apple trees are intolerant of cold weather and their propagation is limited to tropical, or near tropical countries. Trees and fruits are remarkably resistant of pests Seeds of the Mammee apple are large and tan with a rough casing. They are easily germinated by laying the seed horizontally and covering the seed with one-half inch of soil and watering. As the trees are male, female or hermaphrodite together or on separate trees, planting a grafted tree will help to avoid disappointment. Seeds sprout in approximately two months. Trees are productive anywhere from six to ten years when grown from seed or grafted. Mature trees generally hundred fruits per tree. Large green glossy leaves of the Mammee apple tree, opposite the stem are dotted with glands and are somewhat leathery. mottled skin fruits which are from three to eight inches in fragrant liqueur, which is said to help aid digestion. The fruits are roundish in shape, approximately the size of a large orange. The fruit is ripe when it softens and the tannish-grayish skin becomes deep yellow to orange in color. Scratching the fruit scratch reveals green, the fruit is not ripe, if it is yellow the fruit is ripe. Fruits bruise easily and are best picked before they fall from the tree. The skin, which is around one-eighth inch thick, is a bitter rind which encloses the sweet aromatic combination of naseberry, peach, apricot and red raspberry. It is eaten raw or used in preserves, jelly, in smoothie and other beverages or cooked in pies and tarts. Beware: beneath the skin there is a bitter-tasting, thin dry whitish membrane which must be removed prior to eating. It is advised to score the fruit to ease the peeling process. Mammee apples pair well with cinnamon and ginger. In the Dominican Republic, sherbet. In Brazil, wine is made from the fruit and fermented sap of the tree. Caution: in some persons Mammee fruits create digestive discomfort. Fruits are high in vitamin C and A and protein and contain free radical anti-oxidants. Mammee apples are used in medicines and insecticides in Central America, South America and the Caribbean; each fruit contains one to four seeds which are resinous and used as an anti-worming agent and are ground for use as an insecticide. Beware: the juice of the seeds leave an indelible stain! The acrid, resinous gum of the unripe fruit has traditionally been The leaves can be wrapped like a collar around tomato plants to help protect them from cut worms, moles and other critters. The leaves are placed one-half above the ground and one-half below the plant. The bark of the tree and the greenish/yellow gummy resin of the immature fruits are strongly astringent. In Mexico and Jamaica, the thick yellow gum from the bark is melted with fat and applied to the feet to combat chiggers and is used to rid In Central America the tree is protected because the fruit is valued. In other Mammee apple producing countries, trees are felled and the wood is used to make cabinets and furniture decay-resistant but is susceptible to termites. Mammee apple trees and its fruit, seeds and wood are not exported commercially. In Belize the Mammee apple may generally be found in limited quantities in the market place from around April June and early in the new year if a second crop is produced. If space is not an issue, trees make a handsome and tasty addition to the backyard garden.
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 11 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize 30 Years of Growth and Firsts For Cayos Running W MeatsBy Beth Roberson item more valuable than a locally produced product. In Belize this has often seemed especially true. For a small and less developed importation. However, as one of only 2 Caricom net exporters of food, the game is changing; Belize is gaining a reputation not only in the numbers for exported food and commodities but also in the high quality of our products, especially in the agriculture/food arena. main speakers at the 2012 International Brahman Congress, held in Panama, in recognition of not only their excellent products but for Bedran and his wife, the late Mrs. Paulita Bedran, parents of 7, instilled a strong worth ethic in their children. Mr. Bedran was for purchasing land; Mrs. Bedran, a popular civic minded woman and exceptional mother, instilled a strong respect for education in close family, Mr. Bedran always encouraged and facilitated, when possible, businesses which would maintain his family together in Belize. They were remarkably successful, as 6 of the Bedran children today reside and work in Belize. The 2 brothers, Abdala and Escandar Jr. Bedran, own and manage Tiger Run Farm Ltd., home active in the various Bedran businesses. Having spent much of their early years on Bedrans Cool Shade Farm, on the Pine Ridge Rd. (Cayo), the family had cattle along with other stock. In 1981 Mr. Bedran purchased the 1,400 acres of what had formerly been known as Norland Farms, just west of Central Belize River. The Bedrans called their new farm Tiger Run, after the run (rapids) in the Belize River along the farms northern boundary. Roughly 40% of Tiger Run was cleared at the time of purchase. They Bedrans logged some of the land, and that timber work led to the eventual creation of Pine Lumber Ltd., another Bedran enterprise. At about that same time, Dr. John Pentec had been invited to Belize to assist the Belize Livestock Producers Asssociation (BLPA) to develop processing of livestock. BLPA, assisted by U.S. AID, rented the existing slaughter house from the Belgians who had purchased that portion of Norland. After less than a year, Dr. Pentec left the project in frustration. He returned to Belize in 1983 to assist in livestock processing, but this time to help Abdala Bedran, who had by this time graduated (1979) from the Belize Agriculture School at Central Farm (now the University of Belize College of Agriculture). The newlyweds, Abdala and Yvette, contacted Dr. Pentec, and in October of 1983 they purchased the equipment of the former Rover and some spices, they were in business. 3 days a week they operated their slaughter facility, processing an average of 4-5 steers and 3 pigs weekly. They made deliveries in San Ignacio, Belmopan and Belize City from the back of their Chevy pick-up truck. Continued on pg 26
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 12 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize FACING THE GIANT: AVIAN INFLUENZA IN MEXICOBy Dr. Victor GongoraAnimal Health Department BAHA 2013 outbreaks in Mexico have always been worrisome to Belize but now, almost a year later, with the disease Belize faces a formidable started in Jalisco in June 2012 and, by November, Mexican authorities considered it eradicated. However, there was a loss of some 22 million birds due to the disease or control measures and some 166 million doses of vaccine were applied. But it re-surfaced at the start of 2013 with a vengeance spreading to nearby states and resulted in 12 states vaccinating against HPAI, 9 of these states being unaffected states. This giant with the outbreak now being reported in Puebla, Mexico has its sword drawn against Belize, Guatemala and the Yucatan peninsula. As in biblical times when David faced Goliath, Belize now needs to face the threat of HPAI from Mexico. This giant is a threat to Belizes food security, economy, poultry industry and animal health. Public health is not under any threat as the disease is primarily a bird disease. Belizes response is a coordinated response with the lead being taken by BAHA and the Belize Poultry Association (BPA). Regular meetings of poultry committees (poultry advisory committee, poultry health committee) are held to update on the evolution of the disease as well as to harmonise strengthening its veterinary services for early detection and prompt response, the BPA is ensuring that its producers are aware of the threat and step up biosecurity measures. increased inspections at ports of entry from Mexico, the BPA is assisting in risk assessments of cross border movements. the BPA keeps advocating at national and regional level for countries to realize the strength and size of the giant and to strengthening ties with regional poultry associations. BAHA, in response to request from poultry farmers, has established a BAHA HOTLINE: 605-2100. Belize and Guatemala are entry points to Central America and are thus expected to face the giant head-on, stopping it from moving into Central America. Hence, OIRSA, the regional agricultural health organization: Has facilitated the development of an HPAI prevention and control plan for Belize and Guatemala in addition to a regional emergency response plan. Has declared a regional alert for HPAI in Mexico. Holds regular meetings of its poultry committees (regional avian health committee, sub-committee on HPAI) and chief special focus on Guatemala and Belize. Facilitated support at both the regional government and industry level for the establishment of a vaccine bank, for a regional HPAI simulation and for full support to the joint Guatemala and Belize prevention and control plan. gone. However, while it continues to wreak havoc in Mexico, very much alive, Belize cannot afford to ignore it. It is our responsibility as government, as BAHA, as BPA, as farmer, as consumer, as Belizean to be alert and to be ready for any eventualities due to HPAI. Any suspect cases can be reported to the BAHA hotline 605-2100. Further information can be obtained from BAHA by calling Farmers can get advice on biosecurity from the BPA (8243221). Ernie ThiessenSpanish Lookout Cayo District Belize C.A. Tel.: 501-823-0394 Cell.: 501-674-9807 Email: email@example.com Breeding Stock Male and Females
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 13 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize 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 www.belcar.bz CONTACTS: Tel:501-823-0318 / 501-823-0271 Fax:501-823-0136 E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org of testing for the approximately 14,000 to 15,000 head within the community, the national committee projects a 4 week timeline. Spanish Lookout cattle committee chairman, Paul Penner thinks this will be closer to 8 to 10 weeks, with circumstances such as heavy rains contributing delays. The total dairy herd there, estimated at 1,300 to 1,500 head will be closely checked, as brucellosis typically has a higher incidence in dairy than beef herds. To date all the results country-wide have been negative. All Ranchers May Choose Eartag Type: Computer Readable or Not There seems to be much confusion within the various Mennonite communities concerning the computer ID chips which are available, but are not required. The computer chip tags are not connected to any satellite; they have no capacity to indicate where the animal is located. The tags only have an individual reference must be on the ranch with the animal to enable reading it. Hence, if a group of cattle with the computer tags are moved through a gate, en masse, and the reader computer is there, it can read all the non-computer tag, each one must be manually read by the they prefer. Charges for the cattle owner for the sweep services are the same for both types of tags: $10 Bz$ per head. Penner explained that at least one northern Mennonite community which had objected on religious grounds and chose not to get the computer-readable tags, are now gaining a better understanding of the system with some ranchers requesting a changeover to the computer-readable tags. The Spanish Lookout ranchers are anticipated to select the computer-readable tags. BEL-CAR UPDATESThese are Bel-Cars main products, by percentage (dollars, not volume) with note of direction from previous year. BLACK EYE PEAS: down, approx. 10% RK BEANS: level, 25% CORN: up, 64% SORGHUM: slowly up, less than 1% BLACK EYE PEAS: Production this past year is still low, and is expected to remain low again next year, due to prices returning to $0.65-0.70/lb, down from the unrealistic $1.00 to 1.10 of last year. Bel-Car management travels extensively, analyzing global factors, increasing their marketing success. Trips to the Middle East increased understanding of the short but premium market for black eyes for the Ramadan holidays. Europe has also purchased some Bel-Car black eyes this season and discussions are under way with southern US growers, who may need to import to meet their regular customer demands. RKs: Bel-Car is still buying at $1.60, although international prices are cheaper; Bel-Car will need to reduce prices or stop selling. After a time of world scarcity of RKs, the USA and Argentina raised their production levels, which lowered world prices. Buyers such as Trinidad are already buying out of the region, paying the heavy 40% Common External Tarriff (CET). Presently slightly more RKs are inventoried in country than will be consumed locally, so prices must decline. Higher local consumption will likely follow, and more beans in local rice and beans. CORN: There are upwards of 24,000 corn acres planted in the Spanish Lookout area, up from last seasons approximately 20,000 acres. Almost all cultivated lands are planted in corn to last untill the new harvest arrives. Most exports are still going to the Caribbean, while some white corn is going to Guatemala. Coordination between growers and marketers has led to projections of ample supplies until the new crop comes in, with little overlap. Exports to the Caribbean for ground corn are slightly decreased. Factors include international competition, perhaps from N. America or elsewhere. Bel-Cars largest ground corn buyer Jamaica is experiencing economic challenges in their local pork industry, which may also be a strong factor in the decline. RICE MILLING: A little known service Bel-Car offers, mainly for non-member smaller farmers is rice milling. Farmers from Salvapan and Valley of Peace bring in hand-cut harvests, usually under 10 bags per farmer, as Bel-Car is the only mill in Cayo District offering this service. Article based on an interview with Bel-Cars CEO Otto Friesen and reported by Beth Roberson. Cattle Sweep in Spanish Lookout Finally BeginsThe Belize cattle sweep, which began in the Northern Mennonite in Cayos Spanish Lookout. 400 head of cattle were tested on Monday, June 17th, with a follow up reading of results on Thursday, 20th June. Two visits with each animal are required to for bovine brucellosis and are given a bovine TB (tuberculosis) test under the tail. Blood samples are sent to the lab, but the TB tests require the cattle to be individually handled again precisely 3 days later, to manually read those results. For the completion
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 14 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 15 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize A-B denotes the difference between 1st preference & second preference and sometimes between wholesale & retail and bulk or small amounts Trend (H) means Higher over last 30 to 60 days (L) Lower (S) Steady. Prices intend on being farm gate in Belize dollars usually price per lbBelize CattleT A BGrains, Beans & RiceT A B Young strs. & bulls7501100 lbs H 1.90-2.00 1.75-1.90 Belize yellow corn H .28 .29 .27 .28 Cows & heifers for butcher H 1.50 (thin)1.45 1.50 White corn H 0.29 .27 .28 Heifers for breeding 500-800 lbs H 1.50 1.35 1.45 Corn/ local retail (low volume) H .33-.36 .31 .32 Young grass cattle350650 lbs H strs.1.60 heifers 1.45 US corn @ 6.60-per 56 lb bushel H $23.60/ BZ 100#+8 frt. to BZU.S. CattleUS soy beans @15.16 per 60 lb bshl H $50.50/BZ/per100+8 frt. to Bz U.S price -corn fed10001200 lbs H 1.21-US=2.42-Bz Guatemala corn price/Peten H .31 .34 .29 .31 U.S price feeders 600800 lbs H 1.48-US=2.96-Bz Belize soy beans/cwt S .52 .53 .51 .52 U.S pricecalves 450600 lbs H 1.50-US=3.00-Bz Belize milo L .22 .23 0.21 U.S priceaged butcher cows S .80-US=1.60-Bz R-K's, little reds & blacks (beans) S 1.50 1.60 farm priceBelize HogsBlack eyed peas L .65 .67 farm price Weaner pigs25-30 lbsby the head S $90.00 $100.00 Milled retail rice per pound S .75 .83 farm price; distribution .93 Butcher pigs 160 230 lbs S 1.75 1.85 1.65 1.75Citrus Belize SheepOranges per 90 lb box-lb.solid basis H $10.50 Est. 2013 price Butcher lambs S 2.00 2.25 1.752.00 Grapefruitper 90 lb box H $ 9.50 Est. 2013 price Mature ewes S 1.70 1.75 1.60 1.70Sugar Belize ChickensWhite sugar112 lbscontrolled S .45 per bag + 3-5 cent mark up Whole sale dressed H 2.44 Broilerslive per lb H 1.27 Brown sugar112 lbscontrolled S .39 per bag + 3-5 cent mark up Spent hens H 0.95Special Farm Items Fruits & VegetablesEggstray of 30 eggs H 6.75 farm price; retail .30 -.33 per egg Tomatoes, cabbages, cucumbers S whsl .75-1.75; ret-$1.00-$2.50 WD Milk per lb to farmer S contract .50; non contract .45 Local potatoes H 1.00 1.10 .90 1.00 Local onions S .90 1.00 .80 .90 ***These prices are best estimates only from our best sources and simply provide a range to assist buyers and sellers in negotiations. ***
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 16 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Bird Watch From my Perch How Technology Changed the Way We Watch BirdsBy Marguerite Fly Bevis bird books and notebooks. Today a birder can carry his books, bird songs, and a notebook, all in one pocket-sized compact tool. Birders all over the world can enter their observations into a birders everywhere. Launched in 2002, eBird.org provides data sources for basic information on bird abundance and distribution. In March of 2012, participants reported more than 3.1 million bird observations across North America. Belize has its own community of e-Birders, people backyard. As a result, there is already a wealth of information available online about your favorite bird species, where they are and The application, Bird Log CA (Central America) is a tool to use when youre on the go or to keep track of the birds you see in your own backyard. It is a real-time, online checklist program that works on your smartphone or tablet, and with it you are able to make entries in Your observations then become part of a huge global database at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. The information can be accessed at http://www.ebird.org. Go to http:// www.birdseyebirding.com/ applications. that it helps avid birders to organize and keep track of sightings. Gone are the small slips of papers or entries in notebooks you can no longer database, helping scientists and conservationists understand more about bird life cycles and migration patterns. species youre looking for. Maybe you especially want to see a Roseate Spoonbill, for example. You can look online or in the app for that bird, time they were seen. birds depending on the location you choose. Maybe youre going to go new submission. Select Submit Sightings. On the next page, select Choose a location from a map. You will have the option of choosing from hotspots in your area, or choosing your current location using the time you expect to be there. The application will load a list of the birds you might be expected to see at that location. You can then take your device with you to the site and be able to enter your observations on If you dont have a portable device, you can add an account at ebird.org and enter your records by computer. This means you carry a notebook to looking at your account on a computer. There are detailed records and reports available online not available in a portable application. If you enter a rare species or a migrant that is early or very late, a small box appears next to your entry. This means you need to describe the bird in the comment section for that bird (not the main comment section.) If at all possible, get a photo of the bird so you can submit have made a comment. You wont be able to submit until you have placed a check in that box. travels and have always wished I was organized enough to write it down Now I am making lists almost every day. I started adding high and low temperatures plus rainfall for my own records in the Comments section. Finally I have an easy, portable method of keeping track. I can access my personal data from any computer. The information I submit is now available for Birders, scientists, and conservationists around the world. Now, when I go somewhere to watch birds, I carry binoculars, my iPhone (in a waterproof case), water, and a portable stool for sitting listening to them. On the iPhone there is a popular app called iTunes. There are other applications for music and you can use any. Usually of bird songs of Mexico. These are now all in my library on my phone, which is now with me in the middle of the jungle. I hear a bird but I on the phone is Voice Memo. You can easily record a bird song and save it to analyze later. Enjoy the way technology can enhance your bird-watching experiences! Happy Birding!
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 17 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize From The Belize Grain Growers Association GMOs Brief History and Prospects for the FutureBy Hugh OBrien published that they could place functional foreign genes into plant Organisms, however, has been around for a bit longer, with the using genetic engineering in plants signaled an exciting phase in and fuel. the Flavr Savr tomato, which was engineered by Campbell Soup Campbell believed that tomatoes that can ripen on the vine, obtain to the supermarket and the dinner table, without getting mushy or rotten, would be a delight to producers and consumers alike. The anti-GMO campaign, led largely by organized organic farming groups in the US, launched a very effective campaign, leading to Campbells decision to withdraw the Flavr Savr tomato from the market. Following the failure of the GMO Flavr Savr tomato, intense research on GMO crops suffered a major setback and efforts were directed to the more serious problems faced by the farmers, protection of crops from ravaging insects (Bt crops). Technology that was considered safe in organic and conventional agriculture was embraced to develop new varieties of crops. In 1996, Monsanto, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, introduced its popular Roundup Ready soybean which was equipped with a bacterial gene that allows the crop to tolerate glyphosate herbicide (better known by its trade name, Roundup). This meant that farmers could kill a majority of weeds with one herbicide rather than several. Roundup has long been considered the safest herbicide used by farmers worldwide, especially when compared to pre-emergent herbicides like atrazine, and contact herbicides like paraquat (better known by its trade name gramoxone). Genetic engineering then focused on the naturally occurring bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which produces a group of harmless to other insects and is used by organic farmers to spray on numerous vegetable crops right up to one day before harvesting. The ability to produce Bt proteins was then introduced into corn, cotton, sugar beet, potato and a few other crops, reducing the use of more toxic insecticides by farmers. Monsanto has been at the forefront of GMO crop technology and the anti-GMO lobby claims that GMO technology concentrates a whole new generation of GM crops is making its way from the laboratory to the market. Some of these crops will tackle new problems, from apples that do not get discolored to Golden Rice with a very high content of Vitamin A aimed at reducing blindness in hundreds of thousands of people mostly in Asian countries. Continued on page 26
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 18 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Citrus GreeningCitrus greening, also known as huanglongbing disease or HLB, has been called the most serious pathogen ever to infect citrus. It has already killed millions of citrus trees in Florida and resulted in an economic loss totaling 4.5 billion dollars and 8,000 jobs. The disease causes fruit to drop prematurely and to grow misshapen and bitter, thereby making it unsuitable for either juice or the fresh market. Greening is a bacterial disease transmitted by the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP). It originated in China last century and found its way to Brazil, Mexico and Florida early this century. Most South Carolina, California, Arizona, Cuba and Belize. In areas where only isolated cases of the disease are present rigid quarantine measures have been implemented to prevent its spread. Such is not the case in Florida where the disease is now endemic in virtually all areas where citrus is planted. Growers are faced with a decision: to destroy all their trees and plant something else or try to manage through the disease. Fortunately, research suggests that it is possible to keep infected trees productive with good management practices. Successful growers use a two-pronged approach that consists of spraying to control the insect vector and implementing an aggressive crop nutrition program that includes foliar fertilization. Foliar fertilization is important because after an infected psyllid feeds on the tree Candidatus bacteria enter the vascular system where they multiply and block the phloem tissue. Since phloem carries sugars and nutrients from one part of the plant to another this chokes off the supply of food available, thereby weakening and eventually killing the plant. Foliar applications of micro and macronutrients have been shown to unblock the phloem tissue in HLB affected plants. Once the phloem is unblocked nutrients can travel downward through the plant to regenerate damaged root systems, thereby allowing root feeding to proceed again and nourish the plant. Foliar fertilization alone cannot supply all the plants nutrient requirements; healthy soil is also important. However, research in Florida has shown that infected citrus trees can be kept productive if micro and macronutrients are foliar fed during the spring, summer and fall vegetative have been resuscitated and made productive again after four Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers are specially designed for maximum uptake and effectiveness when applied through the leaves or roots. Plant extracts are chemically attached to micro and macro nutrients through the use of organometalics so that nutrients can travel through the cuticles and membranes easier. The high concentration of readily available micronutrients in agro liquid fertilizers means more nutrition gets into the plant per gallon applied and the low salt index means that leaves will not get burned. Contact David Thiessen at Thiessens Liquid Fertilizer in Spanish Lookout (see ad this page) for details on how ACLF can keep your grove productive even when citrus greening is present. USING A REFRACTOMETERThe ability to easily measure Brix determine ideal harvesting times of fruit and vegetables so that products arrive at the consumers in a perfect state or are ideal for subsequent processing steps. A refractometer is an instrument for measuring Brix. An explanation of the background and importance of Brix in determining quality of produce can be found on page 10 in issue 17 of the Belize Ag Report, Aug/Sept 2012. Degrees Brix (symbol Bx) is the sugar content of an aqueous solution. solution and represents the strength of the solution as percentage by weight (% w/w). For fruit juices, 1.0 degree Brix is denoted as 1.0% sugar by weight. This usually correlates well with perceived sweetness. If the solution contains dissolved solids other than pure sucrose, which can be the case in vegetables, then the Bx only approximates the dissolved solid content. i.e. it is refracted. A refractometer measures the refractive index of liquids or solids. It typically measures some angle of refraction or the and vegetables, a thin layer of the liquid to be measured is placed on a prism. (To measure the Brix of vegetables that are typically not juicy, an instrument to squeeze the juice from it is used.) The result is observed through an eyepiece. The critical angle (the angle beyond which light index and the operator detects this critical angle by noting where a darkbright boundary falls on an engraved scale. The scale can be calibrated in Brix or refractive index. Continued on page 24
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 19 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Pig production Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversity of Belize Central Farm CampusBy Felix TzulOne of the key components of the livestock section at the University of Belize Central Farm Agriculture Department is the piggery unit which serves the following purposes: 1. Generate income for the institutions development and sustainability, and 2. Serve as an instrument to expose and involve students in the day-to-day management and husbandry practices of a But the program is about to change in preparation for the offering of a Bachelors Degree in Applied Agriculture in the near future. For this purpose, the following expansions are contemplated over the next three years. UBCF Expansion Program 1. Expansion of current operation to an 18 sow farrow-to2. Establishment of feed mill and feed mixing unit on campus 3. all piglets born in the facility 4. Improve and expand processing capacity of the school processing facility 5. Construction of a biogas facility to provide energy and organic fertilizer The expansion will provide students ample opportunities to enhance knowledge and experience on the day-to-day management and husbandry practices of swine production, nutrition, feed formulation, processing and packaging. The feed mill will complement the production of grain since a portion of the grain will be utilized to feed the livestock (swine, sheep, and poultry) of the farm and remaining grain sold for income generation. Revenues are contemplated from the sale of the following: grains (corn, sorghum), weaned pigs, unit. The projected gradual increase in stock can be achieved in the three years as shown below and demonstrates the outputs that can be attained under good management practices from scenarios. Projected Three-year Expansion Program Number of sows 12 16 18 Number of Farrowing Per Year 2 2 2 *No of Pigs Farrowed/Year When Litter Size Is : 8 192 256 288 9 216 288 324 10 240 340 360 Maximum number of pigs in 8 96 128 144 9 108 144 162 10 120 170 180 Maximum Finishing Area (8 Sq. Feet/Hog) 8 768 1024 1152 9 864 1152 1296 10 960 1360 1440 The information provided below can be used as a guide for anyone interested in swine production to estimate the consumption and cost of ration in a pig production unit, small or big. Projected feeding regime per animal class as guide to estimate annual feed consumption and costs for the expansion program Average Feed Consumption per Day Method Amt. daily Sow (gestation) 4 5 lb Sow Lactation Full Fed 12 lbs. Growing Hogs Method Amount lb. Daily gain 30 Full Fed 0.5 0.3 lb 75 Full Fed 1.9 1.0 lb 150 Full Fed 4.6 1.6 lb 200 Full Fed 7.0 2.0 lb 220 Full Fed 9.5 2.1 lb However, as with all business ventures or investments the technical parameters set to measure and evaluate production and productivity the number of litters/sow/year, number of pigs/litter and number of pigs weaned/litter are all these challenges in order to move ahead successfully in its ambitious program of development.
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 20 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize So where are the Belize health snack bars, the chocolate covered, attractively packaged, branded goods that tumble readily into the shopping baskets of American consumers? The main challenges for export competitiveness according to the IDB, are compliance with sanitary and phytosanitary international standards, long-term capital. Not to mention a thorough understanding of marketing, logistics and supply chain management. It would seem an uphill battle to develop these skills from scratch and expensive to buy them in from abroad. Fortunately, Belize has a reservoir of extremely knowledge professionals with relevant skills and experience and networks of relationships in key overseas markets. They are the retirees and prospective retirees who could be given credits towards residency and citizenship in exchange for knowledge transfers, coaching and mentoring and consulting for local businesses. Agricultural producers must look for opportunities to work with new food businesses. Agriculture must be a cheerleader for innovation, challenging received wisdom, breaking down rivalries and looking for new ways to do business: new methodologies, new technologies, new markets, new business partners and new products. It must channel its extensive expertise in new directions and adopt a long-term outlook, seeking out investment opportunities that will be the enduring success stories of the next decade not the marginal revenue improvement of the next quarter. Government is uniquely positioned to be an enabler in this agriculture-led revolution. It can support and reward entrepreneurs, risk takers who have the capability to build internationally recognized brands and create thousands of new jobs; it can drive capital; it can build and communicate the Belize country brand through a government-sponsored global marketing campaign; it can prioritize investment in urgently needed infrastructure; and it can work to effect a culture change that embraces individual initiative and creativity as the sparks of sustainable economic growth not government expenditure and public debt. common cause in the interests of national advancement and better living standards for all Belizeans, a new industry, an agricultural revolution and an end to successive debt crises is within their grasp. It will take bravery, determination and a willingness to look beyond narrow interests. Are our leaders up to the challenge? Lets Make an Agricultural Revolution, Belizean StyleBy Jo CarpenterThis country has a big, ugly debt problem. Mostly it smolders; in 2012 it bubbled up, but one day its going to erupt in the form of a sharp currency devaluation and painful austerity measures that set the countrys economic and social development back generations, with all the human misery that that entails. Fortunately, we have the power to change the future through our economic choices and agriculture has a leading role to play. rose by Bz$81.3m or 23.3% in 2012-13; the balance of payments exports of goods produced in Belize (rather than re-exports) dropped by Bz$25.3m; imports for domestic consumption addiction to imports, but hamstrings export competitiveness. The trend is unsustainable and eventually the dollar peg will snap. generate funds for investment: the IDB Country Strategy for Belize and the need for foreign investment, including in agriculture. There is no stock exchange for companies to raise capital and the banks are ineffective in recycling savings to feed cash-hungry businesses. Governments periodically indulge in spending splurges, resulting in 2012-13 and capital expenditure is dependent on handouts from foreign agencies. Transport, telecommunications, power generation, education and healthcare. These are the building blocks that enable a society to improve productivity and living standards over the long term. thriving tourism industry; oil, which earned Bz$186m in 2012; and an enormously fertile and productive land with highly skilled no insurgencies, and no terrorist groups. And yet the basic problem of 5.3% in 2012 does not produce enough wealth to invest in the future and underpin long-term economic and social development. tax revenue and the little that comes into government coffers went on wages, pensions and related expenses and a mere 18% on capital expenditure. The public sector is bloated, though we cant entirely blame successive administrations: Dr Ydhalia Metzgen in a September 2012 report prepared for the Central Bank, states: Many Belizean citizens also consider the government employer and provider of last resort. The state sector as a whole represents about one-third of the economy and is crowding out private enterprise. Agricultural produce comprised a muscular 61% of domestic exports in 2012. Clearly, Belize has considerable expertise in agricultural production, but if it were to supplement commodity exports with value-added food products, foreign currency earnings would less vulnerable to adverse swings in the terms of trade. Pepper sauce is one such example, which earned Bz$1,987,821 from overseas sales in 2012. The exports would not only be more valuable, but also less volatile. Metzgen agrees: Belizes export growth would entering the export sector or by introducing more sophistication in export products and the IDB: Belize needs to upgrade its export basket, particularly to non-traditional agriculture for export, given the eroding preferences for banana and sugar exports as well as explore other potential areas such as high value foodstuffs...
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 21 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize UAVs: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Belize Usher in New Era of Precision AgricultureUnmanned Aerial Vehicles, commonly known as drones, are already at work globally in agriculture for both small and large farmers. Belize is embracing the high tech aerial systems, with dealers in place for agricultural drones, creating new opportunities in the to other systems of ag monitoring and applying crop treatments, UAV use is expected to expand drastically. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, (AUVSI) predicts the agricultural sector to comprise 90% of worldwide UAV use. Japan, South Korea and Australia have thousands of these already in agricultural use. The most experienced UAV makers at this time are from the Orient. down the neighboring row, compared to turning necessary with a aircraft by not being limited by direct human visibility. UAVs can monitor crops for yield or health and can disperse applications of liquids, granules or coated grains. They can work as low as 12 INCHES above the plants, reducing application medium and minimizing unintended treatment of neighboring lands. The UAVs helicopter rotor wash (air turbulence) turns the leaves as the drone passes, increasing the coating surface application area, reaching both sides of the plants leaves. The hover capability application and reduced costs are reasons farmers have been turning to the UAVs. Helicopter drones are run remotely by a trained operator on the ground. Battery UAVs can carry cameras, such as CropCam, but they cannot lift the payload required for spraying, so those are gasoline engines. UAV-Belize Ltd expects its gas powered (97 octane) NLA brand UAVs to be available in Cayo in July. The smaller ones, which can spray 1 acre in 3 minutes, and 2.5 ownership as well as collective ownership with a delegated pilot is anticipated; a two day training is included with all sales from UAV-Belize. Prices for UAV-Belizes drones landed in Belize are projected to range from $49K USD for the smallest unit and $79K USD for the larger. They will offer crop spraying services, sales, training and maintenance services. They expect rental fees to be $300 BzD/ hr; average spray plane fees exceed $1,000 BzD/hr. Belizes Civil Aviation Authority has no restrictions on UAVs at this time. In the USA, drones are unrestricted at altitudes under 400 ft with new FAA restrictions expected in 2015. Editors Note: For more information on the drones that will soon arrive in Cayo District, check out the www. uav-belize.com the Central Farm airstrip.
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 22 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Cheesemaking at Western Dairies By Dottie Feucht began with cheese making by the Abram J. Thiessen family in their home in Spanish Lookout; their private operation lasted about 8 months before it was decided by the leaders of the pound vats and forms it in 20 40-pound molds every processing cycle, during which only one type of cheese is made. Like the rest is mechanized; of the 106 employees only 3 people make all the cheese. All cheese starts with milk that is brought in daily. Before farmers started feeding their cattle hay during the hot, dry season milk can expect about 430,000 pounds of milk per month (8.6 lbs. of milk = 1 gallon). Small farmers collect milk in 5 gallon containers but big farmers have much larger containers, some holding upwards to 1000 gallons, on their farms to collect milk. including water. Every container of milk is tested before it is milk from the large dairy farms. raises the temperature to 161 degrees F and then within 15 seconds down to 35 40 degrees F. Milk to be homogenized is also done in-line. Homogenization is the process of breaking up milk particles under pressure: 2300 pounds per square inch (psi). Raw milk contains 3.5% butterfat. Skim milk is produced by separating the cream and milk in a large 250 gallon tank by centrifugal force after which the skim milk is re-pasteurized. It takes 30 45 minutes to separate off the cream which is collected from a lower outlet since it is heavier than the skim milk. One gallon (8.6 pounds) of pasteurized milk goes into every pound of cheese. Cheddar cheese is made from milk that is up to 2.8% butterfat; whereas regular mozzarella is made from 1.8% butterfat milk. Their newest mozzarella, called is produced from up to 2% butterfat milk. Regular mozzarella is made by a mechanized Canadian process whereas an artisan cheese, is hand-stretched. It takes about 3 hours to make one type of cheese. Milk in the large cheese-making vat is heated to 100 degrees F. before rennet, the enzyme that turns milk into cheese, is added and mixing begins. The rectangular-shaped vat has a rotating mixer that continually moves back and forth from one end of the vat to the other. Then it sits for 30 minutes while it hardens. Huge wire mesh frames are then used to drag through the hardened cheese (curd) in two directions to cut it into small cubes. The whey is separated during a second mixing. It takes 15 20 minutes to separate the whey from the curds; then the whey is sucked out. 20% of the whey is recently, chocolate, a product that has become very popular. These drinks have a shelf life of less than 2 weeks because they contain no preservatives. The rest of the whey is used as fertilizer by farmers. Salt is the preservative of cheese; it is added after the whey is extracted. The cheese is then transferred to molds, each of which holds 40 pounds where it is pressed into shape overnight before being vacuum-packed and placed on shelves in the large walk-in cooler to age for 21 days. The aging process is from the enzymes. That aging process for regular mozzarella cheese stops after 21 days and the cheese is ready for market but the process for cheddar cheese continues on even in market coolers. The shelf life of cheese is about 180 days. The longer aging is common for sharp cheddar. Cheese is naturally white in color but annatto is added to cheddar to produce the golden color so familiar to cheddar cheese lovers. was sent to Zamorano University in Honduras to learn how to mixing/hardening and 72 hour cold storage is the same as other cheese, the rest is customized to Master. Approximately 40 in 200 pounds of cheese cubes. Steam is continually pumped into the walls of the vat to keep the cheese at 200 degrees F. As the cheese begins to melt, the water is drained and salt is added and the laborious task of hand-stretching it begins. Two men, working as a team, use big paddles to lift and fold it over again and again, kneading the cheese, in the vat (see cover photo). During a tedious hour of lifting and stretching and folding, the cheese begins to harden slightly, making it even heavier to lift and stretch. The men are experienced enough to recognize the proper consistency of the paddles, transfer the hardening cheese to 20 pound molds for aging. They have to act quickly while the cheese is hot enough to pack. Their experience, once again, helps them to portion the cheese exactly right for each of the 10 molds used for pressing. Like other cheeses, the mozzarella is vacuumpacked and placed in the cooler but its ready for market after 72 hours. to send samples to Guatemala to test for moisture. Plans are in place to obtain their own machine for moisture testing and other
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 23 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Rice Seed Production Project Field DayBy Ina Iris Sanchez 24th, 2013 at the Central Farm rice the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture (MNRA). Invited guests attending were Hon. Hugo Patt, Minister of State in MNRA; Mr. Douglas Chang, First Secretary of the Embassy TTM. A total of 91 guests attended including MNRA technical and students. At the end of the opening ceremonies the attendees accompanied Mr. Specialist, TTM, and Ms. Ina Sanchez, i. a demonstration plot established under the System for ii. three different plots planted with green manure species (Jack Bean, Sun Hemp and Cosmos) that can be planted in a crop rotation system;iii. the process of germinating rice seed for higher crop stand;iv. a trial batch of compost made from shredded rice straw, v. (manual harvesting and threshing, fertilizer application the application of pesticides utilizing a high pressure sprayer. The TTM plan is to transfer the Rice Seed Production Project to the MNRA in December 2013. In Central Farm, additional activities include the design of a rice seed certifying system and the opening of a seed lab. TAIWAN NATIONAL AGRICULTURE & TRADE SHOW May 3rd 5th, 2013 By Mary Susan Loan celebrating Belizes rich history and bright agricultural future. This years theme describes the mission of the fair, Stimulating Prosperity in Agriculture and Food Production through Renewed Public and Private Partnership. The newly renovated and updated fairground was bustling with over forty-two thousand visitors from across the country for a week-end total. The mission of the NATS show is to showcase and introduce new products made by Belizean farmers with the goal to educate, support and encourage improved agriculture practices in Belize, including cattle, shrimp, sugar, citrus, produce, coconuts, rice and many more crops. Awards were Farmer. Members of the Taiwan Technical Mission who are working with the Belizean Ag sector to help improve farming techniques and to promote diversity displayed their ag techniques and displayed fruit, rice and vegetable exhibits. Many Belizean-based new businesses were on hand to proudly cassava products, jellies and jams, gluten veg meats, grain and fruit cereals and many other innovative products. It was a festive occasion and offered something for visitors of all ages, including a rodeo, two playgrounds, a carnival, live music, lots of great handmade Belizean food, crafts, farm products to see, taste, hear and enjoy. project, with the goal to improve existing structures and build more durable all weather buildings for use of the fairgrounds as a year-round national exhibition forum. The proverbial good time was had by all at the annual national event which provides an opportunity for networking, education, inspiration, learning about all kinds of new agricultural information as well as being a popular social event for residents and visitors to Belize. Ministry of Natural Resources & Agriculture
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 24 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Tilapia Hatchery Center Ground Breaking CeremonyBy Dottie FeuchtAfter four years in the making and much hard work by the staff of the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM), former Chief Agriculture project for establishing a tilapia hatchery was launched on July 17, 2013 on Baking Pot Road, Central Farm, Cayo. The project is a joint co-operation by the Government of Belize and the Republic of China (Taiwan). Funded by the International Cooperation and Development Fund of the Republic of China (Taiwan ICDF), the 5 year Aquaculture Project signed in February 2012 is estimated at BZ$5 million. It includes the construction of a tilapia hatchery building (which will also house a research facility), 18 earthen ponds, a reservoir, a sedimentation pond, 12 nursery tanks and gave an overview of the project at the ground-breaking ceremony, said that primary objectives are to (1) produce one million all small-scale tilapia farming operations on Belize, (2) promote the use of modern tilapia culture technology to increase the annual production (3) reduce the cost of commercial feed by 30 35% with the use of alternative feed and (4) supplement the meat protein intake to families in rural areas through improved tilapia production in the region. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture (MNRA), Honorable Gaspar Vega responded with heartfelt thanks on behalf of the people of Belize for the generous gift and outlined support for the project. Mr. Franco Tsai is the project leader for TTM; the Aquaculture Unit of the Ministry of MNRA is responsible for the operation and management of the Aquaculture Project. The tent for the ground-breaking ceremony was tested to its limits when a rainstorm hit the area. The dignitaries were forced to break ground twice: once under the tent in the rain and once in the designated area after the rainstorm passed. The big banner announcing the project that hung behind the podium was signed by all the dignitaries and guests attending the ceremony. It is intended that the banner will become a permanent display in the hatchery after its anticipated completion early in 2014.Local and Regional Fuel Prices Cayo, Belize Quintana Roo, Mexico Peten, Guatemala REGULAR $11.72 Bz/Gal $7.89 Bz/Gal $10.86 Bz/Gal PREMIUM $12.19 Bz/Gal $8.28 Bz/Gal $11.28 Bz/Gal DIESEL $10.37 Bz/Gal $8.14 Bz/Gal $10.29 Bz/Gal Cattle-One of the oldest Industries in Belize Now one of the Agriculture Industries with a very exciting future Local and Export Oriented Phone: 501 822-3883 BELIZE LIVESTOCKPRODUCERS ASSOCIATION Find all the Belize news sites linked from one site, including the Belize Ag Report. SNOOTY FOX GRILLHOUSEThursday Sunday 11am 8:30 pm 623-9694 Refractometer...Continued from page 18Often the prism mount contains a thermometer which can be used to correct to 20C in situations where measurement cannot be made at exactly that temperature. Temperature is very important because refractive index changes dramatically with temperature. It is important, therefore, that users of refractometers either make sure the sample and prism of the instrument are both at very close to 20 C or, if that is separated by a few degrees, the change per degree noted and tables.
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 25 Harvesting Ag News from All of BelizeGarden Tools: Back to Basics By Mitylene Bailey rains to come down to kick start that backyard garden. In the mean time you can accumulate seeds, pick out an area in the backyard for single function trendy tools on the market that promise to make soil most manageable with the least effort, the basic multifunction tools are space saving and most practical for budget gardeners such as ourselves. After all, the purpose of home gardening is for higher output from low input. These eight tools are a great start for your home garden and are multifunctional, practical and space saving. Standard shovel digging up the softened earth and moving away extra materials, such as comfortable grip. Shovels and spades with D-shaped handles make it easier to lift what you have dug or scooped. Look for a curved foot rest below the neck of the blade for easy insertion into the ground. Find an appropriate height and dont be afraid to ask the store assistants to see all that they have. A slick metal surface allows material to slide off easily, so stay away from rusty blades even if it gets you a discount. A lawn rake, either plastic and metal, is ideal for removing fallen leaves, twigs, and other debris as well as smoothing new and existing beds. Make sure the tools you purchase are sturdy and the heads are securely attached to the handles. Metal rakes last longer and perform better than plastic or wood. A hoe moves soil, digs planting trenches, and removes weeds. The metal blade should be attached to the handle with solid-socket construction, so it will not come loose. There are some types that are held to the handle with a metal wedge. These types require soaking in water to expand the wood before use. This is a great addition to the home garden but it requires about thirty minutes of prep time before use. This may be a bit of a hassle if the head is not on right. Slippage and accidents are prone to occur. Choose carefully. PLANTER CONTESTUse either a banana or plantain stalk to create a planter. Send us a picture by or before September 10, 2013. Prizes for Most Attractive and Most Unique (1st & 2nd Place Winners) *Prizes are baked goods Sponsored by Sweet Ting Pastries and The Belize Ag Report. FOR SALEGOOSENECK STOCK TRAILER $6,000 BzPipe sides, new hardwood oor, ts 8 large steers 663-6777 668-0749A trowel plants. A Hand cultivator alongside a trowel is used for turning over soil and compost. Both of these are helpful for weeding between rows ergonomic design is key; if the metal part wiggles even slightly, dont buy it. Gardening gloves protect the hands from sun burn, traction blisters, garden critters and drying from exposure to soil. Gloves that breathable panel to keep hands cool and dry. Grab a couple pairs of knitted gloves also to use when picking up leaves, twigs or pushing around a lawn mower. A wheel barrow is great for those of us with smaller muscles to assist in hauling leaves or soil, collecting weeds and debris, and so forth. It can also double as a tool caddy to tote seeds and tools. Choose the sturdiest wheelbarrows with tubeless wheels that are made of one piece of heavy steel with extra braces on the legs. If a wheel barrow is too much to maneuver a four wheeled wagon is better. Your little garden helpers can hitch a ride with you back to the house after all the hard work is done. A watering can is suited for watering jobs too small for a hose, like that upside down tomato and orchids hanging in the window. be easy to carry when full. They are great for dissolving and diluting organic fertilizers in and applying to delicate plants. A garden hose is useful too since it carries water longer distances. Attach two or more together to reach farther. Adjustable nozzles do everything from gently sprinkling new plants to delivering a hard stream for garden cleansprinklers. Choosing tools carefully and wisely will give many years of great gardening assistance for many growing seasons to come. Remember to invest in great quality tools rather than the low quality bargains. Grab your seeds, start collecting your tools and start that compost pile. The next growing season is right around the corner!REDUCED! Valley of Peace343 acs Pastureland with Spring Supports 200 Head $850 USD/Ac holdfastbelize.com 668-0749
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 26 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Running W....Continued from page 11 hand, a huge boon for their expansion was Abdalas winning of the bacon, pork and beef contract for the British army who had at that time 4,000 meat-loving soldiers stationed in Belize. They imported lamb for the Brits too. At the high point during that era, they were killing 50-60 steers a week, 70% of which was destined for the British army. Soon their business needed a new and expanded location. During those years they had an average growth of 10-20% per year. To meet those needs, in 1986 they borrowed from Development Finance Corporation (DFC), an institution of the Government of Belize at 12% over 13 years, and built their existing building for slaughter and processing. Younger brother Escandar Jr. took refrigeration courses at the Robert Morgan Vocational Technical School from 1984-1985, in anticipation of a need for in-house expertise. In 1993 the British army announced their eventual pullout of troops, which affected sales. But by then local sales were booming and new products coming on line. Meeting the high standards of health and environment, required by the British in their regular inspections during on 650 acres. This excellent head-of-cattle-to-pasture-acres ratio is accomplished by a well-managed system of small pastures which are monitored and cattle rotated frequently. To meet their market demand they formerly had to purchase from outside sources 70-80% of the cattle processed; this has now been reduced to 30-40%. They maintain a herd of 100 to 200 pigs, supplying all their needs, although for many years they contracted pigs. The farm also has 170 acres of Valencia oranges and cultivates 150 acres in corn/bean rotation. and they continually attend courses to stay at the leading (causing the end of Belizes long importation of canned bacon), and to vacuum-pack meat. They adhere to Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP see Belize Ag Report issue 11, pg 12 for more on HACCP) procedures and have a farm of origin and date/batch. Issue 10, pg 1 of The Belize Ag Black Angus crossed with Nelore. It is working well, and the aged grass-fed beef resultant from this cross is of exceptional quality. to raise and process uniform carcasses in an environmentally sustainable manner. Abdala hopes that in the future, many ranches in country will be raising the uniform, high quality carcasses which will be required in order for Belizes beef export market to expand to our potential. From the Belize Grain Growers Association... Continued from page 17 for commercial cultivation in the Philippines. Bangladesh and cassava with resistance to cassava mosaic virus and Australian the diets of the Indian population. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently donated US$10 million to the John Innes is anticipated that this will reduce the use of nitrogen fertilizers, a major pollutant and contributor to the greenhouse effect. At Rothamsted Research in the UK scientists are working on GM plants that will need even less insecticide than Bt crops. The key is an alarm pheromone that some species of wild plants have evolved to mimic the chemical warning signals put out by aphids when they are under attack. Putting the genes for this defense into crops could trick the insects into thinking that they are in peril and drive them away. Joining many new GM crops under cultivation are two crops that are of great importance to the Belizean economy. Indonesias plantation of a drought-resistant GM sugarcane variety. Dr. Erik Mirkov, a plant pathologist at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center, has transferred two genes from spinach into citrus trees, providing resistance to citrus greening disease in greenhouse trials. Field trials of these transgenic trees are now being planted in Florida and Texas.
AUG SEPT 2013 BelizeAgReport.com 27 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize REIMERS 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 REIMERS FEED MILL Complete Poultry & Livestock Feeds, Equipment & Health Products
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