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Belize: New project launched to foster banana production

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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Belize: New project launched to foster banana production

The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the European Union (EU), the Banana Growers’ Association (BGA) and the University of Belize (UB) launched a new project that will promote and foster social and economic development in the banana belt area of Belize, leading to the reduction of poverty by focussing on workers, their families and communities. The Banana Belt, which generates a significant number of jobs in the region, comprises 10 growers and 23 farms of relatively large holdings of plantation farms that are located in the southern Stann Creek and northern Toledo Districts. The BGA is the statutory body representing these growers. The project entitled “Productivity enhancement of banana farms through integrated soil fertility management in the banana belt area of Belize” is a joint action of the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) 2013 programme, to provide financial assistance to this country’s banana sector. To execute this initiative, IICA will provide technical cooperation support through the participation of technical specialists; funds are provided by the EU and some operational costs are covered by the BGA. The specific objective is to increase the efficiency of production; the project therefore aims to increase resource efficiency, improve the knowledge capacities of farmers and the BGA in Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) and enhance the capacities of the UB in micro-propagation laboratory and nursery facilities for production of improved planting material. ISFM techniques promote efficient and effective use of mineral fertiliser, organic inputs and improved germplasm combined with good agronomic practices such as fallowing and the use of cover crops. This project is designed to address specific issues of soil fertility management identified as important by farmers and validated as priority by technical experts and data. This approach has been used successfully to enhance banana productivity in several African countries including Sub-Saharan Africa, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria.

Source: thedailyherald