corn1We are almost in the middle of the hurricane season which is when we should be experiencing more rain, but that hasn’t been the case in the past weeks in the north. The climate has clearly shifted this time of the year and it is bringing about some undesired troubles specifically for farmers in northern Belize. Presently, farmers who should be seeing a good yield of corn are instead facing significant losses. Extension Officer at the Orange Walk Agriculture Department told us more about the situation.


Leonardo Eck – Extension Officer


“Over three thousand five hundred acres was lost due to the drought.”


Dalila Ical –Reporter


“Speaking money wise how much is that?”


Leonardo Eck – Extension Officer


“I could safely say that it is over nine million pounds that is being lost due to the drought.”

 

Dalila Ical –Reporter


“And  financially what does that come up to?”


Leonardo Eck – Extension Officer


“I don’t have the exact figure but it could be nine millions pounds times twenty cents that will be a significant amount of money.”


Dalila Ical –Reporter


“So this lost is being felt by who exactly large scale farmers or small scale farmers?”


Leonardo Eck – Extension Officer


“Both the large and the small farmers but what is happening is that the ministry if trying to get funds to see how we can support or give some help to the farmers; it could be with seeds or fertilizers or something like that but not actually cash money but what happen is that most of the farmers have a loan too and can’t meet those commitment.”


There are approximately 120 farmers in Orange Walk including large, medium and small scale farmers. According to Eck, they had anticipated yields of up to 2, 500 pound of corn per acre but given the circumstances, the yields will surely be far less. Eck adds that the remaining corn is still in jeopardy since the weather does not seem to be changing. These are undoubtedly conditions brought about by climate change he says.


Leonardo Eck – Extension Officer


“Actually climate change because actually the main current season is right now, it is after June when we expect most amount of our rain but in May we had the rain and now in June and July we don’t have rain so it is most climate change. We think that a second planting supposed to be carried on but I think personally that the rains will start to come up more into late October and November and it will be a problem with too much rain.”


Dalila Ical – Reporter

 

“So either way you foresee problems in the industry?”


Leonardo Eck – Extension Officer


“Either way we will see some problems for this year.”


Still, there is no guarantee that the weather pattern is likely to change. In respect to Corozal, farmers planted between twelve to fifteen thousand acres of corn and they too have suffered significant loss and may very well be estimated at losing half of their crop. The situation will more than likely result in a hike in the price of corn and other bi-products of corn.

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