Over the past 15 years, assistance to Belize through the Food and Agriculture Organization, (FAO), has been delivered through approximately 85 interventions, including a focus on policy advice, advocacy and capacity building as well as emergency assistance and resource mobilization for the food and agriculture sector.


More recently, resilience building and expansion of market access have become important features of cooperation. FAO’s support continues to be instrumental today, particularly in view of the country’s commitment to achieving food security and rural development.


With that comes what FAO calls the Value Chain Approach in Northern Belize. It is a project whereby all producers, input suppliers, processors and consumers are involved from producing, selling and eating. In layman terms “from the farm to the fork”.


This approach or analysis looks carefully at each one involved in the project in order to pinpoint any problems which can reduce efficiency or profits. According to Dr. Ludwick Palacio, National Consultant, when it comes to the sheep value chain, the approach is geared towards three different areas which are Onions, Honey and Sheep.


Screen_Shot_2015-10-21_at_8.33.46_PMDr. Ludwick Palacio National Consultant for the sheep Value Chain.


“By way of background in 2017 the preferential market for sugar will no longer be there so the government of Belize and the food agriculture organization looking at ways and means of assisting the farmers in that eventuality so they have three different consultancies that are ongoing to look at the dynamics of it at this present time; onion, honey sheep for which I am the national consultant so I am looking at everything else that has to do with sheep production from the farm all the way to the consumer and everything in between and that is the reason it is called a value chain to see if they can be better organized and that the sector can move ahead in a better way and that there is value for money for each of the actors on the value chain.”


Reporter


“Which entities are involved in this?”


Dr. Ludwick Palacio National Consultant for the sheep Value Chain.


“Presently here we have quite a bit of the farmers for both Corozal as well as Orange Walk because the consultancy is for the north so we have functionaries of government, corporative departments, we have the banking institutions, DFC, Saint Francis Xavier Credit Union, La Inmaculada and also the meat shop owners are also here so quite a broad cross section of the persons that are involved in sheep production and sales here presently.”


Palacio acknowledges that the term from the farm to the fork is not only making food wholesome for human consumption but also educating those within the chain to be more responsible when it comes to sheep herding.


Dr. Ludwick Palacio National Consultant for the sheep Value Chain.


“That is definite part of the studies so we are looking at hygiene, we are looking at disease control, we are also looking at novel ideas because one of the biggest element is that the farmers are not fully organized as a result they cannot make use of the business opportunities in fact we are working with them precisely to make them more think in a more businesslike fashion so the industry can grow as a business and they can get the value for money and improve livelihoods which is the ultimate goal.”


Project Manager for the agro business development project in northern Belize, Gabino Canto, relates that all information gathered in reference to the sheep chain will be included within the value chain approach.


Gabino Canto Project Manager


“One of the things that we are looking at is actually analyzing the entire base line information that we have gathered in the field to come up with a strategic plan that is the work plan that we will set up today so that we can proceed from here to implement some of the things that is affecting the sheep farmers in Corozal and Orange Walk.  The nutrition of the animals that is the pasture and also breeding stack, good breed for sheep and management and also the marketing of the animals.”


Desrick Lazarus, Liaison Development Officer for FAO, stated that despite the fact that the project is being implemented by the FAO, Belizean consultants will be leading the project.


Desrick lazarus Liason Development Officer for FAO


“This project is being implemented by FAO so the FAO is organized in the work in northern Belize and we have contracted Belizean consultants to lead the work in northern Belize so I am here from the Barbados office to support the group of consultancy who are here today who are running this workshop that is very good so far we have had some very good interactions with the farmers, we have about forty farmers here today and the morning session were presentations by some of the consultancy on the project and in the afternoon session we will have the farmers doing some group work and they will make some presentations to themselves to the group when we return later in the afternoon.”


The Sheep Value Chain concept is designed to become a very popular agricultural development.

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