Saturday, January 31, 2009


Old style Mennonite farmers using hand labor and horses on very small homesteads.
Modern Mennonite farmers of Belize who use the latest technology.

small milpero farmer in Belize


by Ray Auxillou

The chicken industry has been built up by the Mennonite industry group in Belize to the point that today, chicken is the mainstay of meat consumption. The production of lean meat that is cheap, accompanied by the egg production, has become a major part of the self subsistence nature of Belizean agriculture. Agriculture teams are also targeting Guatemala, Salvador, and Costa Rica for marketing our agriculture products, in particular for exporting not only frozen chicken parts, but also for crops like beans and corn.
It has been several months since NEWCASTLE CHICKEN VIRUS swept through the Belizean countryside, but today, after various assistances in technology from foreign parts, the National Government of Belize has budgeted the $100,000 Bz ( about $50,000 usa ) for the appropriate equipments and medical assistance to fight NEWCASTLE disease of chickens in Belize. That equipment has now arrived and the vaccination program is to start in the first two weeks of February, 2009. The vaccination will occur from North to South, from Corozal in the North, to the remote Southern Toledo District and from the East to the West, from the Caribbean coast barrier reef islands, to the borders of Guatemala. The Ministry of Agriculture is in charge of this program. Major producers of chicken with large hatcheries, mostly the Spanish Lookout Mennonite Community are already vaccinating. But the big problem are wild chickens, and home chickens that are allowed to roam the backyards and countryside of isolated houses and farms. Many small homeowners keep a few chickens to provide themselves with eggs. Viral diseases are spread through the air, and so cannot be contained otherwise. Vaccination is believed to the answer.
The very small Government of Belize is putting considerable efforts into all forms of Agriculture, as the growing population of Belize is sustained during this world crisis, going on outside in the international arena, by our ability to be self supporting and to feed ourselves. Self sustainability is foremost as a priority, among the leaders of our government in this uncertain world. Our fledgling small agriculture industry is steadily expanding in technological means, skills and research abilities. The new crops for export are vegetables, vegetable processed products, red kidney beans, rice, and corn. These are slowly going to replace the uncertain old colonial mainstays of bananas and sugar.
The Ministry of Agriculture is also fielding marketing teams for our products seeking to export to our neighboring Central American countries for markets for our products. Mr. Canto of the Central Farm Research headquarters in the Cayo District was interviewed on local TV station, PLUS TV explaining the progress.

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