Rains have major impact on farmers across Belize Print E-mail
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Thursday, 09 January 2014 00:00

The incessant rains since September of last year has placed at risk many agricultural crops across Belize. Too much rain has destroyed onion seedlings on the saturated ground and has also destroyed some potatoes.  Likewise the production of RK beans in Belize will be very poor this year because of the sporadic rainfall.

Farmers can take some measures to protect small crops from the rain such as building green houses with covered structures. But that measure is out of the question for such crops like corn and beans, which are normally produced in large quantities for economic sustainability. Additionally, while the preceding months have brought much rain there could also be an unpredictable long periods of dry as well.

While crops have been lost, the Belize River Valley Area, where beef production is concentrated, is also being affected by the rains. The flooding of the Belize River soaks up the pastures of the livestock in the Belize River Valley and with the receding of the waters exposes grass and other plant matter to recurring dry periods, placing the food source of cattle to scarcity.

The recent phenomenon may be all part of climate change which Belizeans have been adjusting for.

“Anything has to be linked to climate change; as you would note very strange weather pattern for this last year, obviously there has to be an education process to assist famers to mitigate this type of loss to the farming community, says Chief Agriculture Officer Roberto Harrison.

“The idea is to prepare farmers for these kinds of eventualities and say to them, well we need to study the weather patterns more, we need to go into different types of production systems; we will need to talk more with the experts in climate change to help us with all this as well,” he also said.

As a result the Ministry of Agriculture continues to monitor the weather and will soon be providing some inputs to farmers whose crops have been damaged by the heavy rains, with farmers in the Corozal District to receive onion seeds and fertilizers this week.