Government of Belize supports Los Buenos Amigos de Trio Village Toledo cooperative with $337,000



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Posted: Friday, March 18, 2022. 7:53 p.m. CST.

Photo credit: GOB/MAFSE Press Office

By Ruben Morales Iglesias

The Government of Belize signed a Matching Grant Fund Agreement with the Los Buenos Amigos Cooperative Society Limited of Trio Village, Toledo District, for BZ$337,453.00 on Wednesday, March 16 at Trio Village.

The fund will provide the pineapple production cooperative with support in climate resilient agriculture to become more efficient in the production, marketing and sale of their agricultural products.

Dr Osmond Martinez, director general of the Ministry of Economic Development, said the matching grant fund “will help them with irrigation, storage facilities and also a small office space. The aim of this project is to continue to contribute to rural development in rural areas.

Martinez said the Los Buenos Amigos cooperative deserved the fund because it had met all the prerequisites.

“There must be a lot of safety nets, preconditions that they had to fulfill, and it’s important to note that they qualified,” he said.

The matching funds agreement “will also support members with agricultural and other equipment to enable them to produce, market and sell their produce from a 31.6-acre project of pineapples to be grown by the cooperative,” said the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise (MAFSE).

The agreement will also fund a capacity building plan that is expected to improve management, reduce the use of chemicals, improve water management for irrigation, quality control and strengthen gender equity. .

Servulo Baeza, managing director of MAFSE, said the fund should go a long way in helping Los Buenos Amigos expand its pineapple production. His ministry, he said, has been promoting climate-resilient agriculture that requires proper drainage, proper use of irrigation and marketing, which are components of the project.

“We understand the challenge that farmers face, not just producing but selling their product,” Baeza said.

“It’s interesting because it’s a combination of IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) and GCF (Green Climate Fund) where the GCF provides the financing. Regarding the project itself, there is a component where the beneficiaries have to donate a part, either in kind or in cash, and the rest is funded by the government. In the end, when the cooperatives or groups receive the grant, it is a grant for them but it is a loan for the government,” he noted.

Baeza said he hopes the Los Buenos Amigos Cooperative will be successful and can identify other products it can produce as well.

“We hope that by using this model, they will take the project more seriously, that they will work together and that they will ensure that there is sustainability in the project that they are doing”, said the minister. of Community Development Oscar Requena.

CEO Martinez said it felt good, having grown up in this part of the country, to see female farmers and to see some of his classmates succeed in the agriculture industry.

According to MAFSE, the government of Belize, through the RRB program, will also provide separate funding to improve two miles of road so farmers can more efficiently get their produce to markets in the region.

Mike Espat, Minister of State for the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment and Regional Representative, delivered the welcoming address at the signing of the matching grant fund.

The agreement with Los Buenos Amigos Cooperative Society Limited is part of the six-year Resilient Rural Belize (RRB) program that the Government of Belize has undertaken with total funding of BZ$40 million from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). , the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and participating grantees. The RRB program aims to minimize the impacts of climatic and economic events on smallholder farmers while supporting sustainable market access for their products.

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