Continuing the path towards strengthening the associative and entrepreneurial capacities of small producers’ organizations in Belize, Procasur, together with FAO, fostered dialogue and policy articulation through the development of the Learning Route.
12 local farmers’ organizations participated in this activity and also representatives from FAO, PROCASUR and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Entrepreneurship of Belize.
Dr. Crispim Moreira, FAO’s Representative for Belize, noted that FAO’s priority in this project is to promote agro-industrialization, especially in the poorest and most backward territories, with a priority focus on youth, women and farming communities.
“The FO4ACP project enables the development of tools, technologies, methodologies and helps to amplify technical assistance so that communities and organizations can process and promote local territorial development, improving family income,” adds Moreira.
Rozan Mesh, an 18-year-old leader of the organization Sayab Farmers Group, says that it has been eye-opening for her to learn about the experiences of other organizations: “by visiting different areas, different cooperatives every day, I have been able to realize what aspects we need to improve in the management of our cooperative”.
Mr. Juan Moreno, PROCASUR’s President, adds “we have to facilitate an environment that allows these small producers to move in adequate conditions in the market (…) this requires that these associations organize themselves and share their problems in dialogue with the political authorities to see what measures governments can take to facilitate fair and sustainable competition in the market”.
Among the demands and needs that have emerged during this exchange among Belize’s small farmer organizations are gender inclusion and the incorporation of rural youth into the associations, the use of new technologies in production and market strategies, modernization of accounting methods, greater knowledge of the legal issues of cooperatives and organizations as service providers, among others.
This Learning Route featured 4 case studies, outstanding experiences that participants visited during the week:
1. Valley Of Peace Lagoon Farmers’ Cooperative Society
“Improving Sustainable Vegetable Production”
2. Sabal Food Products
“Traditional cassava production, pure and natural for a healthy food”
3. Corridgeree Belize Farms LTD
“Promote diversity, sustainable production and innovation in smallholder agriculture in Belize”