Belize ag report
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00094064/00018
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Title: Belize ag report
Physical Description: Newspaper
Language: English
Publisher: Belize Ag Report, Beth Roberson
Place of Publication: San Ignacio, Cayo, Belize
Creation Date: November 2011
Publication Date: 8-2012
Genre: newspaper   ( sobekcm )
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Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UF00094064:00018


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AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 1 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize The Belize Ag Report Belizes most complete independent agricultural publication Pork Gaining Popularity in BelizeThe cess (a type of tax) of $1. per pig paid at slaughter, is collected by Belize Livestock Producers Association (BLPA). Last year slaughter cess was paid on approximately 18,000 pigs, putting over $6M Bz into the local economy. Over 75% of the pigs originated in the Orange Walk Mennonite Community of Shipyard. Other communities with large swine production are Spanish Lookout and Barton Creek in Cayo District and Little Belize up north. Seven slaughter facilities handle between 90-95% of the hog slaughtering. All fresh (unprocessed ) pork meat sold in Belize is of local origin. Belizeans consume approximately 10 lbs of pork per capita annually. Local producers are not able to meet the demands for processed pork products year around, and are especially unable to meet demand for both cured picnic (shoulders) and hams at Christmas time. Almost 200,000 lbs. of cured hams/shoulders, or nearly 2/3 lb for every Belizean, are imported annually during the holiday season. Due to lower prices of imported hams and shoulders, the imports often meet or even occasionally sell for less than those locally cured. Local hams are injected with approx 10 to 15% water, while many of the imports may contain up to 30% water. Slowly and sensibly the Belizean consumer is learning to appreciate the quality of our local products, shedding outdated preferences for imported food an overall healthier swine-rearing environment which is possible at the scale of pig farming here. Farms here have high health standards which are enhanced by modern management including A.I. breeding and regular importation of new breeding lines. Continued on page 10 AUG-SEPT 2012 ISSUE 17 Rice page 19 Cremello page 15 Huitlacoche page 3


AUG SEPT 2012 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, 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 goldenstreamspicefarm@gmail.com www.belizespicefarm.com Quiet River & Garden HomesitesNestled between the Macal River and our Organic Farm 1 Mile upriver from San Ignacio, Cayo District starting 36k USD*************************************************710 Acs at Monkey Falls, Cayo District 2 Mls from W. Hwy on Cristo Rey Rd.Over 1500 Macal River Frontage Final Approval (LUA) for 17 lots along River Yr Round Spring Timber 400 Acs+ Suitable for Crops Good Road On Grid Financing Negotiable, 725k USD*************************************************663-6777 668-0749 roberson.elizabeth@gmail.com CEDAR BLUFF


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 3 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Corn Smut or Huitlacoche.Dr Alessandro Mascia, BMBS, CHEdWe are back to mushrooms this issue and we will discuss a species which is commonly considered a pest of corn production but happens to be good to eat. In a way, I am trying to appeal to, not only the mycophiles among our readers but also to our growing a valuable product that could have appeal locally among the Mestizo population and also be exported to Central America Ustilago maydis (Ustilaginaceae) has the distinction of being the organism that causes a highly prized edible delicacy and a much reviled disease. (Check out the photograph I got, without permission (sorry!), from: Issues in new crops and new uses, 2007.) The fungus causes common corn smut, a disease which can result in economic losses wherever maize or corn is grown. Common smut is especially a problem in processing sweet corn, where the galls and spores can foul processing equipment and result in an unappetizing product. On the other hand, the very same galls, which reduce the income of sweet corn producers, Huitlacoche (cuitlacoche) is the Hispanicized version of the Nahuatl name for the edible galls, which has been consumed by the people of central Mexico since pre-Columbian times. Huitlacoche was also consumed by the Hidatsa people of the upper Missouri. During the rainy season, huitlacoche occurs maize growers for sale in Mexico City and surrounding areas. The popularity of huitlacoche is increasing rapidly in the US, due both to the increasing size of the Mexican-American community and an interest in new foods and fusion cooking, especially in highend restaurants. US restaurants pay as much as US$50-80 per specialty growers. (Most of this information is not from my own brain but hacked and slashed; get in touch with me if you want references). It would seem that the purposeful introduction and production of huitlacoche for export and/or local consumption Huitlacoche occurs naturally in the right season in most corn such, most farmers are trying to eradicate it, not grow it. There has been much research dedicated to its study; initially to help in its control and subsequently, once the economic considerations and growing popularity of this gourmet food were taken into account, to grow it. As a result, the technology and economic cost studies for the production of huitlacoche have been examined and are available to the interested farmer. (Contact me through the small test trials to see if I could grow it myself (for yum-yum!) were successful. Theoretically at least, the Mestizo population, especially up North, might esteem it and since only 400-500 market might exist. It might help to go through the general process of producing corn smut (with little tid-bits from my own experience). Before you can accomplish, especially if you grow corn; at your next harvest, walk like the photograph and thats it. Personally, I walked through galls on them. You then have to grow some corn; sweet corn is supposed to be better but the techniques are successful on dent corn too. (Dent corn is naturally more resistant to corn smut, supposedly.) You probably would want to grow a test patch of, say, 400 plants to get a good idea of how much work is involved and how good your yields are. The rest of the process involves growing the corn until six to eight days after the mid-silk growth stage, preparing an inoculation liquid from the collected corn smut, inoculating every ear through the silk channel, de-tassling every plant and harvesting the ears 16 to 17 days after inoculation. from inoculation to harvesting and I thought it was fun but then I really, really like mushrooms. My yields were consistent with the literature and the biggest ear I found, weighed almost a pound! The Big Question: was it any good, after all the work? Well, since I really like mushrooms (cant you tell?) I really, really liked the you want more varied opinionsit seems like most people either really like it, or they hate it http://rollybrook.com/ar-huitlacoche.htm link to simple recipes with photos. Note for eating raw in salads, etc, writer suggests eating the white (less mature) huitlacoche. For cooking both the Mexican caviar. This product is available canned and frozen in Mexico and North America.


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 4 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize The Belize Ag Report, P.O. Box 150, San Ignacio, Cayo District, Belize, Central America Telephones: 663-6777 & 664-7272 Assistant Editor: John Carr Special Editor: Dottie Feucht Submissions as follows: Letters to the Editor, Ads & Articles to: belizeagreport@gmail.com Deadlines for submissions: 10th of the month prior to publication. 5 Issues per year Distributed in Belize & Southern MexicoMission Statement:The 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. NOTICE: If you would like to share our publication, kindly do so by sending the link to our website. Neither the pdf downloaded versions nor articles may be posted online or reproduced in any publication without permission from The Belize Ag Report. FOR SALE 600-2853Hay Unit: Square baler, rake and mowerTwo-blade bottom plowNEW 25 kW generator on trailer I.R. Two-Car ferry 10' x 26' 85 HP outboard motorCanoe with trawling motor 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: info@agricones.com TELEPHONE: 501-8222618 CELL: 501-6208481 Dont be nervousabout nding a printed copy of the next BELIZE AG REPORTSubscribe and relax. The Belize Ag Report, P.O. Box 150, San Ignacio, Cayo DistrictInternational rates upon request SHARES IN AIRPORT PARTNERSHIP BUSINESS FOR SALEHorizon West Properties Group, a privately held limited partnership, is an established aviation related commercial business providing for travelers to and from San Ignacio tourist area as well as a suitable business locale. The property is located at mile 60 Western Highway. Aircraft hanger with cement aprons for aircraft storage located on 2.5 acres of land at Matthew Spain in hanger plus additional free-standing building now leased. Reason for sale; owner no longer lives in Belize. Jerry Stevens; Email: U.S. Phone 919-274-0001


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 5 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Cooperatives And Associations: A Posible Driving Force For Rural Economic DevelopmentBy: Romaldo Isaac Lewis (MBA & Agronomist)Unlike other developing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Belizes cooperative movements and associations have been instrumental organizations in rural development. In agreement with author, Acosta Pinto, 2009, cooperatives provide the opportunity for poor people to increase their incomes; they are democracies empowering people to own their own solutions; they increase security for their members; and they contribute directly and indirectly to primary education for children, gender equality and reducing child mortality. or multilateral organizations have supported agricultural development. Even fewer agencies defended, promoted or supported agricultural cooperatives. At the same time, very few governments continued to see rural cooperatives as poverty. Year after year the budget allocated for agriculture and cooperatives has been reduced in spite of the fact that in small-scale farming or farmers cooperatives. The World followed the same path Types Of Cooperatives In Belize Analysis done in February 2012 with the cooperatives sector and the Cooperatives Department in Belize indicates that the largest sector where cooperative movements are formed is in the agriculture sector (52%), followed by tourism, transport, 10% and 6%, respectively, as illustrated in graph below. An a little less than 100 individuals and 31% provide the same services to 101 to 500 individuals in Belize. Types of Cooperatives per District Expressed in Percentage Source: Analysis of the Cooperative Sector and Cooperative Department (02/2012) Global Cooperative Challenges Acosta Pinto 2009 states that the situation among rural communities continues to be very challenging. 85 % of the worlds 460 million farms are small-scale, of less than 2 hectares. A synthesis of the information states that subsistence is the tendency in production and the emphasis is still on meeting food security needs. Most of the global stallholder farmers earn less than 2 dollars a day and are not organized. The smallholder farm sector in developing countries is largely left without necessary support arrangements in infrastructure, extension services and local processing. Services Provided By The Cooperatives Sector In Belize In recent years price increases of food staples and products such as bread, butter, pasta and vegetables led to a hysterical wave in the mass media in our nation and around the world and social unrest in several countries. Those with the highest return on investment were mainly those who are in control of the chain between the farmer and the consumer, i.e., wholesaler or retailer. However, there is no doubt that many by the price increase in factors of production such as inputs and fuel. The cooperatives sector seeks to assist farmers in these areas. Most of the goods and services provided by the cooperatives sector, 31%, goes to agriculture; support to 24, 14 and 7 percent, respectively. Strategy For Cooperative Success In Belize The present economic crisis presents new challenges to the cooperatives especially in agriculture whose environmental to scale up the production of goods and services. In Belize and around the world, the most important future limitations on agriculture development will be the availability of fresh water, access to technological and legal support. During recent years, farmers cooperatives around the world have been promoting a new agenda for rural development and the development of farmer-owned organizations and enterprises. Developments in recent decades have also shown that, although cooperatives have been affected by many problems, they are still the most relevant organizational form for small and medium-scale farmers enterprises. Cooperatives have shown resilience in periods of crisis. Cooperatives have resisted the negative impacts of a rapidly changing environment. Cooperatives have been a privileged problems. Many new initiatives give hope for a renewed, member-owned, community-committed and independent agricultural cooperatives movement. successful only if the organizational focus is from a collective business perspective; that is, members should be highly committed to work, produce and market their goods or services collectively. This collective approach also provides opportunity to negotiate inputs (raw materials, training, infrastructure, technology) at less cost, access to micro


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 6 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize PALLET GARDENBy Carol AugustLove to grow your own vegetables/herbs, but low on space? Challenged by the thought of buying expensive pots for pot gardening? Want containers that will be within your budget, locally available and can look nice? Concerned about water bills associated with gardening and managing pest problems? Why not try a pallet planter! Several web sites provide information on making pallet planters, composting and companion planting. This planter was made using a damaged pallet with empty horse feed bags stapled to the underside and bottom to keep in the soil. An extension at the top held additional a good nutrient value medium for higher plant density. On 24 March, marigold, carrots (short root variety), bok choy, romaine lettuce seedlings and additional marigold seedlings were transplanted when the planter was raised on 22 April. On 29 April, green leaf lettuce seedlings were transplanted to Observations: This planter was placed on a south-southeast verandah that receives limited direct sun during the longer days of the year; the sun is directly overhead. The orientation will be excellent for the shorter days of the year when the sun is lower in the sky. The compost was too loose to allow the planter to be placed fully upright, and could be washed out by seedling cups (with small holes at the bottom) set between the lettuce plants in the top row and supplemented with misting using a sprayer. Water distribution from top down watering bottom row of plants. Overall, little water is needed since compost holds water well, and the pallet slats and feed sacks help hold the water. Weeding was minimal and easy because the soil was loose and the planter orientation was upright. Harvesting began 5 May. Belize National Organic Council (BNOC) Working towards strengthening the organic sector in BelizeBy Fay GarnettThe Belize National Organic Council (BNOC) was formed during an elective process conducted at the First National Organic Forum held in Belmopan on November 11th of 2011.The event was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). The council is composed of seven members whose representatives are from the private and productive sectors. Their main objective is to serve as the entity that will support farmers in organic production and development and also work along with the ministry to promote research, capacity scheme as an alternative for local producers. The BOA is comprised of various farmer groups (mainly from the Cayo and Toledo Districts), consumers and technicians from the Ministry of Agriculture, IICA and other partners in development. Over the last two years, technicians have been working with the alliance in developing skills in organic production, inspection becoming popular among the Latin American countries in the however international standards are used. Earlier in May of this year, the BNOC signed an agreement to participate in the Central American Network for Organic Agriculture The other members that signed unto the same countries discussed and agreed that strengthening organics cannot only be done through the establishment of normative measures and control standards, but instead, from the very production level. Organic movements throughout the region are suffering from the same growing pains in that the organization of farmers are weak due to lack of motivation and support, there are no clear roles, lack of funding, and usually the lack of guidance as to how to take on organics in a more without proper planning, consulting or even without a national strategy for organic development. Belize, in an effort to avoid this same mistake, has developed a draft strategy and the council is working on how to begin to execute it effectively. The played a major role in the initiation of this entire effort. He has so far expressed great interest in this initiative and continues to provide support to push organic development forward. BNOC at the moment looks forward to continue to build a strong, productive relationship with these countries that are in a similar situation as Belize and it is clear on prioritizing farmer well as information and knowledge sharing. In July of this year, IICA and the Ministry of Agriculture and for organic inspectors from the various districts to allow them to become more familiar with organic norms and procedures as production. 150 ACS. Y ALBAC AREAYr. Round Creek ~ 85k USD Firm 668-0749 ~ crbelize@gmail.com


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 7 Harvesting Ag News from All of 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. Launching the Slow Food Movement in BelizeBy Marla JerniganSlow Food International (SFI) was started in 1998 by Italian journalist Carlo Petrini who saw the proliferation of the western diet and the fast food industry as a threat to the environment, health and cultural traditions both in Italy and around the world. Today, the movement has local chapters called convivia organization) in over 140 countries with projects such as the Ark of Taste and Presidia, to protect endangered traditional foods and Terra Madre, a biennial gathering of farmers, food producers, indigenous peoples, youth and cooks from around the world in Turin Italy. workers lunch of caldo and tortillas, held in December, 2011. It was a small scale celebration to honor the completion of a Mayan garden at Belcampo Farm. In the garden, the workers planted traditional Maya crops like coco yam, culantro and a corn to the developing world, planting a lesser-known traditional crop such as black corn is an act of cultural and farm manager and a former teacher, the local convivium has held a couple of events at Belcampo including a lunch featuring Belizes biggest salad in a giant hand made wooden bowl and and environmentalists on the last Friday of each month. Belcampo, the new name for the lodge formerly known as Machaca Hill has historic links to the SFI through the companys CEO, Anya Fernald, and manager, Mara Jernigan, both former directors in the international movement with a strong background in the development of sustainable local food systems and agri-tourism. The lodge is committed to job creation and innovative food workshops for visitors to Belize through the development of vibrant agricultural projects involving the planting of cacao, cane for rum, coffee and vanilla as well as the cultivation of food for the lodges guests. The farm staff was especially proud of the recent completion of a small scale processing facility so that the lodge could raise and safely, humanely slaughter their own non-medicated pastured poultry. Those interested in attending a Slow Food event, becoming a member, or just learning more can contact er@belcampobz.com or contact frontdesk@belcampobz.com Mara Jernigan is the General Manager of Belcampo, a lodge located close to Punta Gorda Town, Toledo. "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." T.A. Edison


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 8 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize BEYOND THE BACKYARDThe Power of PeasBy Jenny Wildman These days it is so hard to know what to eat, what to believe and what to do to make a difference globally. June brought us World Oceans Day designed to educate the public about marine life as an important food source. Adhering to imposed seasons and restrictions for marine life and wild animals, assessing supply and demand can greatly assist this concern. However the fact remains that eating habits need to change. Obesity, cancers and behavioral problems can be mostly attributed to what we give or do not give to our bodies. If it costs a tlot of money it is probably not very healthy and your system really does not need it: too rich; too much fat; too much sugar; too much salt and how about just plain too much. So what can we suggest....planting!! Add more fresh local vegetables to the family diet. Simple foods eaten in season are best and in many cases once established only cost you the time to pick, do a bit of weeding and watering, which is all great exercise. Some foods are really easy to grow, e.g,. callaloo, chaya, plantains, papayas, mangoes, moringa, all hardly need any attention. Worthy of including is the winged interesting four angled pods and just about every bit of the plant is edible. The pods taste like asparagus, the pea seeds like soybeans, the shoots like spinach and the roots like nutty potatoes. Full of vitamins, calcium and iron, which, as with most legumes, draws from the atmosphere and usually does not need fertilizer. One of my choices is the pigeon pea which is a shrub of multiple uses. In some countries it was used for thatching and basket making. More often people have been introduced to these other plants. What a lovely surprise to discover that this shrub makes an attractive addition to the garden, cascading soft Now right here I am only talking about home gardening but there is possibly a market for anyone considering growing this as a crop. I have seen ads for brokers looking for good quality pigeon peas for the Indian market but I would think within our country the local markets maybe a good outlet and sought after by restaurants once people have tried them. The peas can range in colour from white to red, brown to black and speckled. In many Caribbean Islands rice with pigeon peas is a favourite local dish like our rice and beans. In India the peas are one of the most popular pulses either as fresh green pods red gram. The leaves and shoots can also be consumed lightly Medicinally the list of claims to cure are many, from jaundice, blood disorders respiratory infections, mouth ulcers and even baldness This food is extremely nutritious and relied on by many vegetarians in India, Africa and Asia to supply high levels of protein to their diets as well as important amino acids. In A and C. This tropical green pea (Cajanus cajan) is also called congo pea named by slave traders, gungo, tur, arhar, kadios, around 1700. Evidence of it was found in Neolithic sites in India and in ancient Egypt, so it has been around for centuries important as a staple food for people and fodder for animals. It grows from seed, takes awhile to get going then shoots up rapidly. Since it is an easy-to-grow, drought-resistant woody bush that thrives well in poor soil and is such a well-balanced chance to regenerate. Have fun, stay well and send any comments and recipes to Jenny Wildman spectarte@gmail.com


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 9 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Callaloo, the Wonder Green By Mary Susan Loan of Cristo Rey, CayoCallaloo may be growing in your garden. It is a vigorous annual plant that grows like a weed and thrives in tropical environments. At least one variety known as pig weed is considered to be a nuisance by some farmers who have not yet discovered it is edible and keep trying to kill it when they could be enjoying eating it! It is a favorite green leafy vegetable widely consumed throughout the Caribbean region. Callaloo is technically known as Amaranth Tricolor (though it is green) or Amaranth gangeticus. The genus Amaranthus consists of about sixty species so far Amaranthus ruentus and Amaranth hypchondiacus are grown for edible seed production. This article focuses on the edible leafy variety of callaloo which is also known as kallaloo, Chinese spinach, Indian spinach, shen choy, green leaf amaranth or just bush greens. Callaloo is not just delicious, it is also very nutritious. The leaves and stems are edible and have been described in taste to be similar to spinach, bok choy, collards, kale and Swiss chard, with system, high in iron, high in calcium, vitamin C and K, super rich in antioxidants, protein, Omega 3 and 6. Cultivation of callaloo is lost in time but dates back more than two thousand years ago. The origin of callaloo is claimed to be believed to have healing properties and callaloo was a symbol of immortality. It was and is still used by the Chinese for its healing elements, said to cure illnesses such as infections, rashes and Belizeans. It has been very popular in Jamaica since at least the 1700s and was used as a food source by slaves. From seed, callaloo grows quickly reaching maturity in approximately thirty to forty days. It grows easily even in poor soil and generally grows to be about three feet high. Callaloo is best harvested when plants are about twelve inches tall before the dry season or summer heat, but also does well with humidity and likes to be watered. The only drawback of growing callaloo is that a worm variety loves callaloo as much as people do and can leave callaloo leaves full of holes. There are numerous remedies for preventing worm infestation including: tobacco spray, neem oil and soap, garlic, onion and cayenne pepper. One farmer recommended watering the callaloo plants with a quart of water with about one teaspoon of salt to kill the worms. It grows best direct seeded and easily reseeds itself. The optimum harvest is gained by planting rows about a foot apart. Callaloo is a store house of nutrition but must be cooked as the raw leaves contain oxalic acid. There are several recipes for callaloo. It is a popular vitamin drink in Jamaica and made into a healing soup. My favorite method of preparing callaloo is as follows: wash about one pound (three to four cups) of fresh or two medium onions; fry the onions and garlic until tender in a large frying pan to which one to two tablespoons of coconut or olive oil have been melted; then add callaloo with about one half cup of water, cover and cook over medium heat for little more water as needed. Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper and enjoy! 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 GREENS GRADE HUMATE A L. B SOIL REJUVENATION ROOT STIMULATION ORGANIC FERTILIZER GREAT FOR ALL CROPSSee Article in Belize Ag Report Issue #15, page 20Georgeville, Cayo 660-1019 664-9517 benbutenschoen@gmail.com


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 10 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Pigs...Continued from page 1 The smaller, more closely monitored scale of local pork production improves Belizes position in facing the larger health challenges inherently more prevalent in the giant factory farms of North America. The Belizean swine industry differs from the mainstream Belizean ag community, in that it is not geared toward eventual export possibilities. The necessity of costly imported feed concentrates and other higher costs of production, make local pork uncompetitive with foreign pork producers, notably the USA and Canada who sell to the Caribbean market. Over 5 years ago, BLPA voted to direct 50% of the swine cess to The Pig Council and in January 2012 BLPAs new directors voted to increase that to 75% of (pig) cess revenue to The Pig Council. Currently the council does a survey of all local pig populations 3 times annually. But as soon as the promised funds are made available, The Pig Council will be better able to address their industrys needs. Some of their goals include: improvement of breeding stock for local producers, improvement of survey methods, attending international pork industry seminars, increasing education, and setting up a reserve fund for swinerelated emergencies. Lobbying for their industry is directed toward improving pork marketing. Pork producers also comment that they would appreciate increased veterinary Thiessen of Spanish Lookout, Mr. John Penner of Shipyard, Mr. (Country Meats), and Mr. John Wilharris of Ladyville. BRIX MEANS QUALITYHigh brix plants are healthier; their produce tastes better, is more nutritious, has a longer shelf life and brings the farmer a higher price. By Beth Roberson In Belize, the citrus community may be the best acquainted with the brix system, as growers are paid based on pounds solid and the brix measurements of their fruit. number of fruit, vegetable, grain and pasture professionals have learned to pay attention and utilize this rating system to improve their products and their paychecks. Ongoing research continues to underline the importance of brix for growers, processers, vendors and consumers. measure of sugars, (sugars comprise about 80%), it is a bit more explains: Brix is actually the summation of the pounds of sucrose, fructose, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, hormones, and the density of fruit juice in 1870. The wine industry was thrilled to be able to measure and predict which grapes would produce superior wines. He became a national hero; the system was named in his honor. Since then small handheld and digital refractometers have become available and are widely used by vintners; brix has remained a central relevant technology to vintners who know that high brix grapes produce the best wine. Continued on page 20 Ernie ThiessenSpanish Lookout Cayo District Belize C.A. Tel.: 501-823-0394 Cell.: 501-674-9807 Email: ernieth@westerndairies.com Breeding Stock Male and Females


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 11 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Exciting Belize-Guatemala Trade Partnership By John CarrAgro-productivity growth happens when you can sell your farm crops, have a little left over, raise the living standard and increase development; and agro-productivity in outlet for our corn, beans of all types and cattle (to name some products). Of course our traditional crops of citrus, bananas, and especially sugar are also influenced by our Tropics sugar development in the Cayo District. We wish them the best. This means jobs, the opportunity to grow cane, increase tax revenue, and foreign exchange earnings, a winwin-win situation. thousand years, before there was ever a mention of a border. Our much spoken Maya, Spanish and even English tie all of this together in some very unique ways. Increased trading is a natural result. We welcome a new bridge in Melchor and a new road to Jalacte. These projects are moving along and are reality, not a future dream. We trade care; they have some very fine hospitals and doctors. Trading always require the door to swing both ways. Success means buying from and selling too; this always involves currency exchange, trading rules, customs and immigration. We worked out a Partial Scope Agreement surface enough to work out the details. However Belize imports shrimp food, fertilizers, ag chemicals, seeds and plenty of ag products, cattle, corn, beans and whateversometime on a back road. This trade amounts to millions of dollars and both sides are having meetings to see how we can facilitate each other. Usually it is bureaucracy and inconsiderate timing that holds up the correct regular border crossing. We dont see these problems as unsolvable and both sides are talking about solutions that will expedite trade solutions. increased from 20 cents to 30 cents a pound. This amount to $200 to $300 a head advantage. My rough estimate of 8000 head in the past year means an approximate $2,000,000 more in the cattle raisers pockets. Corn and bean trade is probably larger, especially in the Cayo and Toledo districts. Belize has 330,000 people. Belize is producing a surplus of corn, beans and cattle and welcomes any business where has a large farming sector and a variety of ag supplies and especially production consultants who can teach us a lot. Belize has a great growth potential (a probable multiplier of 4). We share a common border; what an exciting future! 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:bel-car@btl.net


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 12 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 13 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Dear Ag Readers: Today I will write about weather and its effect on producers and consumers. In this part of the world, we are affected by what happens in the All this is true 80-90% of the time; sometimes other factors have an effect. Probably you are aware of the horrible drought in the US that covers over 26 of the 50 states. In the major corn and soy bean growing areas there will be a reduced harvest and in some cases none at all. Soy beans at 16.50 US per 60 lb bushel is the highest price on record, Corn and other food grains are likely to follow.(Corn has already gone up $1.00 US a bushel.) In this corn season in Belize we started out with too much rain and Agriculture Prices at a Glance$$$$$August September 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. & bulls 7501100 lbs H1.40 1.451.35 1.40 Belize yellow corn S.26 .28.25 .26 Cows & heifers for butcher H1.10 1.20(thin).95 1.10 Heifers for breeding 500-800 lbs H1.15 1.20 1.05 1.15 White Corn S.26 .28.24 .26 Young grass cattle 350650 lbs H1.35 1.401.20 1.35 Corn/ local retail (low volume) S.32 .37.28 .32U.S. CattleU.S corn @ 7.77-per 56 lb bushel H$27.75/ BZ/ 100#+10 frt to BZ U.S. price: corn fed 10001200 lbs H 1.19-US=2.38-B z U.S soy beans 16.51per 60lb/bush H$55/BZ per 100#+10 frt to BZ U.S. price: feeders 600800 lbs L 1.37-US=2.74-B z Guatemala corn price/Peten H.35 .38.33 .35 U.S. price: calves 450600 lbs L 1.50-US=3.00-B z Belize Milo S.22 .25.20.22 U.S. price: aged butcher cows H .90-US=1.80-B z R-K's, little reds & blacks (beans) S .851.00 farm pric e Belize HogsBlack eyed peas S .901.00 farm price Weiner pigs 25 -30 lbsby the head S $95.00 $100.00 Milled retail rice per pound S .87.88 farm pric e Butcher pigs 160 230 lbs S1.80 1.851.75 1.80Citrus Belize SheepOranges per 90 lb box-lb.solid basis S $14.25 Est. 2012 price Butcher lambs S2.00 2.251.752.00 Grapefruit per 90 lb box S $ 6.50 Est. 2012 price Mature ewes S1.70 1.751.60 1.70Sugar Belize ChickensWhite sugar 112 lbscontrolled S.45 per bag + 3-5 cent mark up Broilers live per lb S1.22 1.241.21 1.22 Brown sugar 112 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 5.00 farmretail .25 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 Local potatoes S.80-.90.70 .80 Local onions S1.00 1.10.80 1.00


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 14 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Light Rein Horse BitsBy Marjie OlsonBits a horse bit to be exact the piece that goes in a horses mouth or around the muzzle. It is attached to a headstall and reins are attached to the bit, maybe a curb strap-leather, rubber, rawhide or curb chain, thus becoming the bridle. Bits come in as many shapes and variations as womens shoesand are almost as much fun to buy, actually for a real horsewoman, more fun! There are so many misconceptions of bits that I could easily write condensed and hit the main points. A bit is designed to control speed, turn and stop a horse. BUT! Let me emphasize that a bit is the secondary part of all three of for a reason. Your bit should be the second or even third connection following your seat and legs; it is not meant to be the only effort used for communication. You have the mouth piece which lies just above and occasionally on inch spot behind the canines. This area can be severely damaged with improper use of the bit, causing bone spurs, cuts of the gum, even broken bone. The bit should always be on top of the tongue. If a horse gets his tongue over the bit, there will be severe issues both in control and fussing. The bit should be placed high enough to create 1 to 2 wrinkles in a horses lip corner or it may bang against his canines, causing head tossing and worse. have a broken jointed center or even two areas jointed. If there is no shank because it has a broken center, a joint in the middle, DOES NOT MAKE IT A SNAFFLE!!! A bit that has a rusty looking mouthpiece may be actually a sweet mouth or could be a cheap piece of crap, creating a sharp edge or splinter; you need to know the difference. A curb bit is any bit that has a curb chain attached (or should have a curb chain/strap) and has a shank. (I see many improperly used bits such as a Tom Thumb with NO strap.) severe the bit; the longer the shank, the more severe the bit; the part of a shank bit and can have an effect on the severity as it places the curb chain higher, into a more sensitive area. A horses mouth shape, his roof of mouth and width will often horses with wide muzzles may need a 5 or even a 5 which are How the bit balances in a horses mouth makes all the difference in how a horse responds and can make training easy and enjoyable or make it become confusing, painful and annoying. Fit, curb strap/ chain placement, port, and the riders hands are all determining factors in the actual available use of the bit. The main thing to remember is that a bit is only as severe as a riders hands! I have barely touched my thoughts on bits. At one point in my Maybe but it was a wonderful arsenal to have for training. And as always I am learning every day, what bits work for certain horses and not for others. Buying womens shoes is certainly easier, but getting the right bit for a horse to work well inthats an accomplishment! Keep in mind, you will need several bits to get not even mentioned bosals or hackamores. I need more issues! Have a wonderful summer and come and enjoy NBHA Belize at the BEA. Never sell you saddle, cause lifes a long, long ride Marjorie Olson, Light Rein Farm, 5 Mile Mtn. Pine Ridge Rd. Cayo District, Belize **************************************NBHA BZ RESULTS MAY 26, 2012 OPEN 1D: Marjie Olson 18.902 5 pts 3 pts Assad Bedran 19.765 3 pts OPEN 2D: Marjie Olson 20.062 5 pts OPEN 3D: Santiago Juan 21.289 5pts Kenan August 24.391 1 pt TEEN 1D: Estuardo Alvarao 19.600 5 pts TEEN 2D: Abigail Coverdale 21.960 5 pts TEEN 3D: Dennis Alvarado 22.465 5 pts Jessica Leonard 22.699 4 pts NO YOUTH 1D or 2D YOUTH 3D: Jacob Wilson 23.954 5 pts Chase Harsta 26.457 4 pts Continued on page 15


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 15 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 NBHA BZ RESULTS... Continued from page 14 John Carr 20.740 4 pts NO Senior 3D POLES 2D: Estuaro Alvarao 35.014 5 pts Jennifer Harsta 40.596 4 pts Dennis Alvarado 41.824 3 pts Jessica Leonard 44.533 1 pt Total points with two shows stands as follows: (Poles not run in March) NBHA BELIZE OPEN 1D: Assad Bedran 3 OPEN 2D: Marjie Olson 10, Hugh Milton 5, Stephawn Scott 4 OPEN 3D TEEN 1D: TEEN 2D: Abigail Coverdale 5, Joel Smith 5 TEEN 3D: YOUTH 1D: None YOUTH 2D: None YOUTH 3D: Chase Harsta 8, Logan Harsta 8, Jacob Wilson 5, Amberly Next runs are Sat-August 25th Sept, Oct, Nov and Dec. dates to be announcedCREMELLO Cremello is an uncommon equine color, caused by double homozygous cream genes. Crossing a cremello on a chestnut will produce a palomino. The cremellos in the cover photo are offspring from Banana Banks cremello stallion.


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 16 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize 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. Wild Edibles of Belize Part One Purslane (Portlaca oleracea)By Dr Mandy Tsang, BMChB, DRCOGThis is article is part one of a series of articles on foraging for wild food in Belize. My reason for promoting the use of wild food is that I would like to encourage the eating of greens in Belize and entice people to broaden their culinary palate; recipes have been included with the article to start you off but I would encourage personal inventiveness and innovation in the cooking of the vegetable. Furthermore the foraging of greens in grasslands, shrub areas or even in the back yard will promote physical well-being in terms of mild cardio-vascular activity. Moreover, I would like to banish the excuses that I hear time and time again There is no callaloo in the market walk out of your house with a basket and start foraging! I will begin this series with purslane because it is everywhere and it grows even in the worst conditions in dry clay soils. During our dry season this year, I was deprived of many of my garden greens since I do not use an irrigation system, and sake this is the description of it from Penelope Honychurchs A prostrate herb with the morning. The stems are a reddish colour. It is rich in vitamin A and C and has a high percentage of It is a versatile vegetable which can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in a variety of ways. It has a mildly acidic taste and be eaten. Coconut Purslane Salad(serves two people) Ingredients: two cups of chopped purslane one small chopped onion half cup of shredded coconut one jalapeo pepper minced one tablespoon of coconut oil two tablespoons of lime juice salt and pepper to taste Combine all ingredients in salad bowl. Can be enjoyed with nachos or corn tortillas. Purslane Chicken Chow Mein(serves two people) Ingredients: two cups chopped purslane one chopped onion one breast of chicken sliced into inch slices marinated in one tsp of soya sauce and two tsp of coconut oil for 30 mins in fridge 200g of chow mein noodles boiled for 4-5 minutes until soft and washed in colander with cold water and left to drain one tablespoon of soya sauce salt and pepper to taste In a wok or skillet, heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil to high temperature. Fry chopped onions until brown and then add chicken. Cook chicken until well-done (5-6minutes). Next add purslane, stir fry for 30 secs. Then add chow mein and lower heat to medium. Add soya sauce, salt and pepper whilst frying the chow mein. Stir noodles well to stop it from sticking (takes about 5 minutes). Serve with chopped salad onions sprinkled on top.


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 17 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Update on the Competitive Regional Policy & Strategy for the Cultivation, Education, Marketing and Promotion of Fruit Cultivars PROMEFRUTBy Maruja VargasThe Belize Ag Report carried two previous articles on the the second in 2011. This regional policy and strategy is now known as Por-Fruta. The Promefrut preinvestment initiative was scheduled to complete on June 30, 2012, following a two-year period of planning for the expansion of the fruit sector in Central sector participants from the eight countries contributed in numerous workshops and conferences which resulted in budgets for implementation. Por-Fruta is now entering the implementation phase in each of the eight participant countries. From the outset, the ministers of agriculture of each participating country had pledged their support to engage personnel and vehicles to implement this strategy during the life cycle and propose future projects to ensure the sustainability of the fruit tree industry in the region upon the completion of the preinvestment initiative. The eight projects of the Por-Fruta initiative are to be implemented and assisted in each country by the Central Technical Committee of the organization, of which each country has two representatives, one each from the public and private sectors. Within the next several weeks, the Minister of Agriculture in Belize is to announce the Belize Task Force on Expansion and Implementation of the regional initiative Fruticultura Por Fruta. A brief summary of the eight project areas follows. The summary includes the projected time frame for implementation and an estimated budget request in US dollars. 1. Formation and maintenance of the Por-Fruta Central Committee to assure the execution of the strategic plan. $195,000 June 2012 to January 2014. 2. Program of Fruit Culture and Climate Change, the aspects of which are mitigation measures, adaptation strategies, and reduction of vulnerability. $7,600,000 over 5-year period 20122017. 3. expanded spectrum of fruit cultivars. $ 2,000,000 over 3-year period 2012-2014. 4. subsectors across the region. $1,000,000 over 2-year period 2012-2014. 5. $528,000, over 3-year period 2012-2014. 6. 5-year period 2012-2016. 7. Consolidation of the marketing data bases of participating countries into one regional system. $245,000 over 2-year period 2012-2014. 8. Online fruit educational course consisting of 130 hours over 13 weeks resulting in a diploma on fruit cultivation targeting 25 participants. $150,000 by year end 2012. Of the current total agricultural production for Belize, fruit contributes 65% of the total revenue. Of the eight countries, Belize is the most heavily invested in the fruit sector. Therefore, Belize has a demonstrated ability to compete in the fruit market sector. As a spring board into future expansion, Belize has a tremendous number of different fruit trees some of which are native and indigenous and others that have been coming in for as long as people have traveled. Thousands of trees currently at hand, as the plants are mature and already in production. These trees have proven genetic adaptability to our locale and the great diversity in soil type present in Belize. This might be Belize. For example, we have one of the most diverse collections of mangoes throughout this country already in full production. It would take a small processing operation for people to be able to have an outlet for their fruit. Mangoes are just one example. We have guavas, kinep, plums, craboo, black berries, custard apples, cow sap, monkey cap, bread fruit, bread nut, almonds, pitaya, and the list can go on. recognizes that food security will be strongly tied to deeprooted trees which not only produce food in the form of fruits but also starch foods which can be stored. As noted in issue 15 of The Belize Ag Report the central focus of vertical production is the productive tree. Tree farming promotes wise land use. Instead of spreading out over more land, the farmer concentrates on less land and becomes an intensive rather than an extensive agriculturist. As a positive resource, Belize has many, many small farmers. Tree cropping is a perfect match for the extended family farming unit. Fruit production does not require huge plantations, but can be economically managed on a simplistic format using manual labor. Belize is blessed with a bounty of ready and willing workers. Por-Fruta offers a promising opportunity for Belize to expand its scope and production in the fruit sector as well as providing more economic prospects for our people on the land.


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 18 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Central Farm ServicesBy Maynor HernandezWhat is known locally as Central Farm (CF) is the research farmers. With the dependence and expansion of agriculture in Belize, CF plays an important role in the both livestock and crop production. Under the direction of Mr. Melanio Pech, a staff of 47 provides the following services: The Organic Program focuses on: Innovative organic technology, training and demonstration for farmers Production of organic amendments (humus, compost, bokashi and liquid fertilizers) Promotion of eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives for farming systems The Root Crop Program was developed to address: Seed multiplication and germ plasm collection of local and new varieties Dissemination of information to farmers to improve root crop production in Belize The Vegetable Program includes: The use of on-farm materials to produce healthy vegetables Demonstration of new farming technologies Promotion of the consumption of local and oriental vegetables Training in crop management The Protective Structure program was established to: Demonstrate different models of protective structures to producers Promote the use of protective structures to produce high quality and healthy crops all year round Provide information on protected cultivation and postharvesting techniques to farmers, farmers groups and extension agents Assist farmers in adapting new cropping technologies Mexico Declares Highly Pathogenic Avian BPA, 20 July 2012 In June 2012, the animal health authority reported a major outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H7N3 in the western state of Jalisco, an important table egg producing state. Mexican officials acted quickly to control the outbreak declaring a national animal health emergency and implementing movement controls, slaughter and destruction of poultry in affected farms, cleaning and disinfection and testing of poultry farms around the initial three infected farms. Other states in Mexico banned the movement of poultry and poultry products from Jalisco into their states. Countries in Central America, especially alert stepping up emergency preparedness plans. A month after the start of this event, Mexico reports that 305 poultry farms have been sampled with 33 farms testing positive, 106 testing negative and diagnosis is on-going in the other 166. Around 3.8 million birds have been slaughtered and destroyed of an affected population of 9.3 million birds. There are about 17 million birds at risk with 60% of these being layers, 24.6 % broilers, 6.9% breeders and 8.5% being backyard poultry. Currently, the disease causes death in 10.58% of birds in an affected flock and 39% of birds that get sick die. As soon as the first reports were received about the major outbreak in Mexico, the BPA and poultry producers, especially those in the Northern Districts of Belize, went on alert calling community meetings to inform producers and stepping up biosecurity measures. The harmonised Biosecurity Assessment Tool, recently adopted by the BPA, is being used to strengthen farm biosecurity measures. to coordinate strategies and activities under the national alert status to prevent the introduction of HPAI. While not a cause for complacency, it is reassuring to note that Jalisco is many states away from Belizes border and these buffer states are on alert to also prevent the introduction of this disease.


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 19 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize Rice Field DayBy Dottie FeuchtThe rice seed production project, restarted in 2009 (after a few years of no progress) by the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM) at Central Farm, celebrated its success story with a Rice Field Day on May 25, 2012. In addition to a detailed description of the multi-step process to produce high quality rice seed growing plots on the 5 acre site at Central Farm. The attendees learned that the annual 1652 pounds of basic seed (pure, in terms of variety, and uniform) that pounds of stock seed that are then sent to the 25 acre Poppy Show Farm in Toledo for producing 220,000 pounds of the commercial seed which are sold to the rice farmers. Three varieties are produced: Cypress for irrigated, upland, and milpa farms, and Tai Chung Sen 10 (sticky rice) for mechanized irrigated farms. The success of the project can be assessed in a number of ways: (1) For a number of years Belize has not had to import rice because the quality of the seed maximizes production, and even exceeds the annual consumption of designed irrigation and drainage system, ensuring that the crucial water level of the plots remains at the optimal level even during heavy rains. (3) The Belizean staff who transplant, monitoring and caring for the plants, and harvesting and preparing the seeds, having been taught by the TTM staff. (4) There are now 650 rice farmers who have access to TTMs expertise and information and high quality production seed to maximize their harvest and supply the local market. (5) The registration system established in 2011 provides monitoring information for quality assurance. (6) The goals of the project have been met and culminated in the signing of a letter of intent (LOI) to turn over the production representatives of both governments took place at the end of Plans for future assistance to the rice industry by TTM include grading, packaging and marketing. PUNTA GORDA DOLOMITE Approved for use in organic farming! Recommended by CGA and BGA Correct acidic soil conditions Increase availability of important plant nutrients Provide Calcium and Magnesium Improve your yieldsSupplying dolomite to the agricultural industry of Belize since 1992! PUNTA GORDA DOLOMITEThe only liming material in Belize with guaranteed specs, will: It is best to lime before applying NPK fertilizers!


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 20 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize ASK RUBBER BOOTS I have a question regarding local honey. We use honey a whole lot, but recently we have noticed some oddity. Some are so thin that they almost run like water. Our recent purchase is really dark and tastes a bit like molasses. It foamed up and fermented! We did not think that pure honey did that. Is it a normal thing? Please alleviate our ignorance. Thanks a bunch. Cheers Toshi Schwerdtfeger Dear Toshi, Thanks for sending us such an interesting question. Yes, there seems to be some issues with the local honey crop this year. often related to the bees food source. Yes, you may be seeing fermentation, as in a poor crop year it is not uncommon to have quality issues (including color and moisture) in addition to poor production quantity. When bees forage nectar it is usually around 80% moisture (give excess moisture to yield a moisture content much lower. They do this by spreading the honey out in the combs to increase its surface area and moving air through the hive by fanning with their wings to draw in outside air and, at the same time, exhaust more moistureladen air to the outside. In this process they reduce the moisture level in the honey to below 20%. The acceptable moisture content is usually <18.5%. At that level the honey should be stable for storage. Anything that hampers the ability of the bees to remove moisture to attain this stability. Excessive long term humidity in the ambient air is problematic. Even honey that is properly evaporated can pick up moisture again under extremely humid conditions because of its hygroscopic (moisture absorbing) property although once honeycombs with beeswax cappings which provide some level of protection from subsequent exposure to high humidity. Problems with high moisture honey are exacerbated when sugar-tolerant yeasts are present, which they commonly are, and fermentation can begin. Once that begins there is no good remedy. If high moisture honey is extracted from the combs and a beekeeper or honey packer has drier honey available, the two can be blended to lower the moisture level to 18.5% or lower, alleviating the problem. For the smaller producer this is frequently not an available option-especially if the problem is occurring among a majority of honey producers in the area. For consumers looking for lower moisture honey with a normal long shelf life, it may be well to point out that there may be pockets within a broader area that had better evaporating conditions, and therefore, normal, drier honey. These moisture levels are tested with a refractometer, the better of which are generally too expensive for small scale honey producer it becomes quickly degraded and not palatable for consumption. High moisture honey can result from a too-rapid harvest, but if the problem is widespread, that more suggests an environmental cause as discussed above. Brix... Continued from page 10Curiously, almost a century elapsed before brix was adapted for widespread use with other crops. Dr. Carey th century Florida agricultural consultant, was importance of the brix index and to promote and expand its use, starting with citrus. He realized that brix was more than just a sweetness index; it is the simplest single test which also reference today. The crux of his message was: Brix is quality. each with a corresponding brix number. Following Floridas orange producers adoption of the brix system of measurement, eventually other industries began to realize the potential requires less added sweeteners, saving the processor money plus contributing to a higher quality product. In addition to the brix-pioneering grape and orange industries, now the ketchup industry widely uses it to buy tomatoes; the cranberry industry has also converted to purchase by brix. Even the USDA sets minimum brix levels for salad bar items. Savvy wholesalers measure brix before purchase to have the best tasting products on their shelves, and even home gardeners can now measure their produces brix using handheld affordable refractometers. More and more farmers are becoming aware of the importance of brix levels in both the leaves and fruits of their crops, and with good reason. Brix infers both good quality and good health for the plants as well as resistance to many kinds of plant pests: insects, bacteria, viruses and fungi. This good health also follows the plant after harvest, as high brix produce dehydrate rather than spoil and have an extended shelf life. (Tomatoes are said to be the exception to this rule.) How do high brix plants discourage insects? The fact quoted on several websites is that for many crops, a leaf with 12 or brix chart on page 21, 5th column of values is labeled Disease disease free.) Insects convert plant sugars into alcohol; so a high brix plant can be toxic to them. Mammals have evolved to prevent excess sugar from being converted into a toxic level of alcohol, but bugs do not share this ability. One theory holds that the tipsy bugs are easily eaten by other predators; another theory is that the alcohol dissolves the waxy exo-skeleton and leads to death by dehydration. Note that the high brix level needs to be in the leaves as well as the fruit/vegetable. Certain varieties, such as sweet corn, have been developed for sugar translocation qualities, meaning the brix is increased in the ear, but diminished in the stalk and leaf. This increases the plants vulnerability to disease by compromising the plants natural How can you increase your brix? Todays soil scientists and fertilizer experts understand that in order to have high brix, plants need to have more than NPK available; minerals and micronutrients must be balanced and available for uptake. Both foliar feeding and application of organic matter to soil have been soil tested, discuss your needs and go from there. Continued on page 22


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 21 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize THE REAMS COMPOSITE CHART (BRIX) Poor Average Excellent Disease Free Poor Average Excellent Disease Free Apple 6 10 14 18 (16) Mangoes 4 6 10 14 ( ) Asparagus 2 4 6 12 ( ) Onion 4 6 8 13 (13) Avocado 4 6 8 12 ( ) Orange 6 10 16 20 ( ) Banana 8 10 12 16 ( ) Papaya 6 10 18 22 ( ) Beet 6 8 10 12 ( ) Parsley 4 6 8 12 ( ) Blueberry 6 8 12 14 ( ) Pea, Black-eye 4 6 10 12 ( ) Broccoli 6 8 10 12 ( ) Pea, English 8 10 12 14 (14) Cabbage 6 8 10 12 ( ) Peach 4 6 8 12 ( ) Cantaloupe 8 12 14 16 ( ) Peanut 4 6 8 12 ( ) Carrots 4 6 12 18 ( ) Pear 6 10 12 14 ( ) Casaba 8 10 12 14 (16) Pepper, Hot 4 6 8 12 (12) 4 6 8 12 ( ) Pineapple 12 14 2 22 ( ) Celery 4 6 10 12 (15) Potato, Irish 3 13 (13) Cherry, sour (14) Potato, Sweet 6 8 10 14 ( ) Cherry, Sweet 6 8 14 16 (16) Pumpkin (15) Coconut 8 10 12 14 ( ) 60 70 75 90 ( ) Corn, Sweet 6 10 18 24 (24) 6 8 12 14 (15) Cucumber (13) 4 6 8 12 ( ) Cumquat 4 6 8 12 ( ) 4 6 10 12 ( ) Eggplant (12) Squash 6 8 12 14 (15) Endive 4 6 8 12 ( ) Strawberry 6 10 14 16 (16) Escarole 4 6 8 12 ( ) Tomato 4 6 8 12 (18) ( ) Turnip 4 6 8 12 ( ) 6 10 14 18 ( ) Watermelon 8 12 14 16 ( ) 8 12 16 20 ( ) Beans 4 6 8 14 (14) Alfalfa 4 8 16 22 (14) Honeydew 8 10 12 14 (16) Corn, Stalks 4 8 14 20 ( ) Kohlrabi 6 8 10 12 ( ) Corn, young 6 10 18 24 ( ) Lemon 4 6 8 12 ( ) 6 10 14 18 ( ) Lettuce 4 6 8 12 (12) (15) Lime 4 6 10 12 ( ) Sorghum 6 10 22 30 ( )


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 22 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize AG BRIEFSSee John Carrs notes on p. 13 for the impact of the North American drought on Belizean ag prices. The drought which at print time is affecting 61% of the contiguous USA, is expected to continue into September. The USA is the world leader in both corn and soybean production and 88% of their corn crop and 87% of their soybean crop are in drought-affected areas. Although rising crop prices will be a boon to other exporting nations, worries arise that rising food prices may contribute to more unrest in the Middle East. Some opine that seed corn supplies for next year may be affected. The UK had its wettest June since 1910. Many apple, cherry, plum and pear farms have had their harvests almost wiped out. Belizean realtors noted that buyers for international drinking water bottling companies were in country hunting for lands with sources of plentiful unpolluted water, such as isolated springs. BLPA is anxious for the cattle sweep to begin so we can export to many countries while the price of cattle is up. Better classes of steer and bulls weighing 750 1100 pounds are bringing $1.45 $1.50 per lb. for the very best males, cows at US prices. Maybe cattle raisers will now spend more money for improved pastures, better fencing with cross fencing and better bulls, AI and even embryo transplants. Most of these REGULAR PREMIUM DIESEL One of the oldest Industries in Belize Now one of the Agriculture Industries with a very exciting future BELIZE LIVESTOCKPRODUCERS ASSOCIATION Brix... Continued from page 20 Small handheld refractometers are available in the USA for about $50 USD; Citrus has marketed them to their members for around $300 Bz$. There are several different types. Fruits, vegetables, crops and grasses need models calibrated for range of 0-32 brix. Honey (and molasses) refractometers require calibration for a higher scale. To use the refractometer, simply place a few drops of the juice on the glass prism and read the results. other popular charts are The Neilson Chart and The Pelly Chart. most of his values have remained valid. Note: Milk can also be checked for its brix level. Harrill reports that commercial milk averages 10-11 and excellent milk may be as high as 20. Do you have any brix information to share with our readers? Please let us hear from you, at formally inaugurated The National Pitahaya Production Task Force. Manuel Trujillo, National Crop Coordinator at Central Farm will chair the group. Members of the task force come from Ministry of Agriculture and Natural and private stakeholders. Central America was recently approved by USDA for the importation of fresh pitaya into the USA. The task force reconvenes on August 1st to assess current pitaya production information in Belize, market prospects and further USDA requirements and costs. Keeping Produce Fresh: Some produce emits ethylene gas as it ripens and other produce is ethylene-sensitive, accelerating its ripening process and causing it to spoil quickly. Separating the two helps keep the latter produce fresh longer but Everfresh Partners of New Zealand have invented a gadget which allows them to be stored together in the refrigerator. The gadget traps ethylene gases emitted by high ethylene produce such as apples, avocadoes, mangoes, papayas, plantains and tomatoes, so that they will not accelerate the ripening and contribute to the spoiling of ethylenesensitive produce such as unripe bananas, broccoli, cabbage, cukes, okra and sweet potatoes. Everfreshs permeable sachet packet of potassium permanganate or sodium permanganate attaches with a suction cup inside a refrigerators vegetable drawer and absorbs the ethylene. Bad Year for Mangoes in Belize: Although mango production regularly has normal and boom years, 2012 has not been a very good mango producing year for Belize. Many Cayo farmers report that either their trees lost their bloom but then later bloomed a 2nd time and fruited in June and July with some still fruiting. The traditional harvest time for some mangoes begins in April-May during the dry season. Mangoes account for over 50% of tropical fruits worldwide. One source claims that some mango trees over 300 years old are still producing fruit. Mangoes are native to India, who remains the top world producer, accounting for over 50% of world production. Mexico's mango production ranges between 3rd 5th place. The top 10 producing countries grow 80% of the fruit. Mangoes are becoming very popular in the US; imports into the USA market have expanded from 226M US$ in 2007 to over 343M US$ in 2011.


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 23 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize BIODIESEL JATROPHA www.b-oilbelize.com 501-621-3432


AUG SEPT 2012 BelizeAgReport.com 24 Harvesting Ag News from All of Belize