Monday, March 30, 2009

2009 Farmer of the Year in Belize

Farmer of the year 2009 in Belize. Oscar Figueroa

According to historians, the earliest human beings were hunters and gatherers called Homo Habilis. These individuals didn’t settle in one area. They were nomads. Therefore, their survival was based on eating whatever crop or animal they encountered during their movement. Eventually these Homo Habilis evolved into Homo Erectus, Homo Sapiens and to what we are today. As their abilities developed, so did their survival and feeding habits.

They decided to settle and build communities. Since they gave up their nomadic lifestyle they had to develop a system to sustain their food availability. That was when they started subsistence farming. This farming practice is still alive today. It is where individuals grow crops and raise animals for their own use. As these communities evolved and the capitalist movement became dominant, individuals realized the potential in commercial farming.

Today agriculture is one of the most productive institutions in Belize and the National Agriculture and Trade Show Committee salutes farmers every year for their excellent work and commitment to agri-business. Recently, they announced the names of the Farmers of the Year Awards for 2009.

The winner of the Senior Farmer of the Year is Mr. Oscar Figueroa. Mr. Figueroa is from the village of La Gracia in the Cayo District. He farms with his family on his 80 acre plot that consists of field crops, vegetables, livestock, fruit trees, bees and aquaculture. According to the committee, he understands the concepts of agri-business very well and has made significant investments in irrigation facilities. They praised him by saying, “He is very receptive to adopting new technologies such as the use of covered structures and protein/energy banks to feed his livestock.” Figueroa’s farm is a source of employment for many residents of the surrounding area of the village.

The Junior Farmer of the Year is Mr. Joel Corado. He is from the San Carlos Village in Orange walk. The committee said that Corado is very ambitious, confident and loves the work that he does. He comes from a farming family and demonstrates a good knowledge of the market outlets for his produce. He exhibits a very sound knowledge of agriculture at a very young age and is expected to expand his farming activities in the near future.

The Lady Farmer of the Year is Mrs. Rosa Ramirez. She is from Quash Savanna, Maskall in the Belize District. The committee said that she is of strong character. Ramirez manages a diverse farm. She plants crops at different times of the year to ensure a steady flow of produce. She keeps up with new farming technique and has made several investments in her farm like: supplementary feeding and making her own livestock food.

The judges for the Farmers of the Year exhibition were Mr. Elvis Requena from BEST, Mr. Luke Ramos from the 4-H Center and Mr. Francisco Tzul, RUTA Coordinator. The honoured farmers are expected to be present at the opening of the National Agriculture and Trade Show on Saturday, May 2nd. The show is scheduled for May 1 to the 3rd at the Belmopan show grounds.

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