Thursday, December 4, 2008


Teresita Balan, agronomist in charge of vegetable crop research at Central Farm Agricultural Research Station.

FAO, or FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION of the United Nations funds Habenero Pepper EXPORT EXPERIMENT in Belize.

by Ray Auxillou

Apparently, one gringo, Bill Cheek, has succeeded in getting funding from the FAO, for a project to produce hot habenero peppers in Belize for export. FAO are working with the Agriculture Department in a support capacity and Bill Cheeks has a market lined up inside the USA.

Agriculture Cayo Officer in charge is Mr. Zalizar for our government. Rene Montero our Agriculture Minister wanted for me to write an article on it, in a telephone call the other day.

Agriculture Department Vegetable Crop Research Officer, Teresita Balan, agronomist, is currently planting seeds in seed trays for the project. She has the unenviable task, as you can see in this photograph, of planting 31,000 seedlings in trays, of the West Indies Red variety of habenero pepper As you can see by her last name Balan, her ancestors go back over ten thousand years around here, back into the last ICE AGE. The FAO project is being supplied with seed trays, seeds,chemical powder to fight White Fly, foliar fertilizer and the FAO will pay the Agriculture Department .18 cents for each seedling produced for transplanting.

Seven farmers have been selected to plant one acre each of these peppers. About 2000 seedlings are already in the field. Around 3,500 seedlings have been produced. The goal is to develop a market export for 10,000 lbs a week. In our own habenro pepper experiments, we were able to get production well, for two years, without changing our pot soil from the same bush. This done by hand fed controlled conditions supplying water and liquid nutrition, as per simple hydroponic system. The experiment has yet to run the course, so we cannot know of the profitability. Everything here in the experimental stage is being paid by FAO.

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