IICA holds accountability seminar in Belmopan Print E-mail
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Thursday, 31 May 2018 00:00

The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture IICA, held its yearly accountability seminar at the National Headquarters of the Department of Agriculture in Belmopan on Wednesday morning. One of the main goals of the session was for IICA to give account to its main stakeholders regarding the significant achievements for 2017 and plans for 2018.

In his main address this morning, Willie Chan, IICA’s Technical Coordinator reported that the banana project signed with the European Union was strengthened in 2017. He also reported that the extension services within the Department of Agriculture were boosted via a technical cooperation agreement.

Chan mentioned that the Pesticide Control Board was assisted in the delivery of it’s strategic plan. Through the efforts of IICA, an international round table where farmers can come together to share ideas had also met in 2017. Some 16 agencies are now members of this round table, including the Embassy of Taiwan, the European Union, OIRSA and the United Nations Development Program.

Chan also reported that whilst the directorate of the IICA delegation at number 24 Orchid Garden in Belmopan was still in transition, the trends will continue for 2018. Once the medium term plan is set, IICA will sit with stakeholders to plan the Country Strategy for Belize. Its banana project continues and so will the assistance to the extension services at the Department of Agriculture.

IICA with its headquarters in San Jose, Costa Rica now works with the Citrus, Banana and Sugar Industries in Belize, but its main partner in development is the Department of Agriculture. Andrew Harrison, Belize’s Chief Agriculture Officer expressed gratitude this morning to that relationship. Harrison reported that it has collaborated with IICA to establish school gardens at educational institutions in Belmopan, which is now having 900 students as beneficiaries. These students are learning how to produce fruits and vegetables. Harrison reported the worrying trend from the last census that the average age of our farmers is 55 years.

According to Harrison, both IICA and the Department of Agriculture are now working together,  enhancing agriculture, with an effort to  “…improving the capacity of agriculture to mitigate against climate change.”