On our last visit to Belize in December 2013, our horticulture consultant, Sue Brown, gave presentations to two schools in San Antonio on the importance of composting and introduced the idea of Alley Cropping in hopes they would share the brochures with their families. We are hopeful that soon we will be able to start a demonstration plot of Alley Cropping with Inga trees and work with the Maya Green Growers Association getting Inga trees to local farmers to start Alley Cropping in their fields.
Sue also had many interviews with local farmers and learned that their biggest concern is the fungal diseases they are fighting. In the November issue of the Belize Ag Report, there was a timely article on the effects of glyphosate- the main ingredient in Round Up. This insidious ingredient works against the natural chemistry of the soil biota and in effect, kills plants by 'waking up' the fungal diseases that are naturally kept in check. If the farmers want to rid their fields of the fungal diseases, and other health concerns that occur with glyphosate, they need to stop using Round Up. Sue was able to write this information down and have it translated into Spanish so the local farmers could read it and understand the complications they are facing.
The November 2013 issue of the Belize Ag Report has reported that other Central American countries are turning away from glyphosate, but failed to mention what they are turning to. Sue will be following up to relay some alternatives to the local farmers soon. (see: www.belizeagreport.com)
The schools are in the process of starting gardens cared for by the students so the compost presentation was good timing. We are hoping they will incorporate Alley Cropping as well.