I would like to start off by first thanking you for keeping us informed during this COVID pandemic. Your newspapers were hard to find, so I assume other people out there were as grateful as I was for you timely news items.
I’ve been reading and listening to the news out there, as they finally start pushing to get our farming industry back up again. While this is great news I would like for people to realize that contrary to what they are saying on the radio and television, farming is something you must dedicate yourself to.
While the rewards are great in that you can supply all the food you and your family need, please don’t assume that you just throw a few seeds into the ground and “wala,” food. One news outlet said just throw a few tomato seeds into the ground and in a couple months you’ll be reaping tomatoes.
The reality is that the people who grow tomatoes, sweet peppers, watermelons, etc., do a lot of spraying for fungus and insects. These farmers spray three to four times a week to prevent the plants from dying, and even then, the insects win in the end.
A friend of mine planted out a small field of cauliflower and broccoli, and even with a dangerous amount of spraying, he lost everything.
There are natural ways to prevent infestation, but the reality is that it’s almost impossible to do this on a large scale. There are many plants you can grow, such as chia nopal and sweet potatoes for the tuber and for the nutritious young leaves. Pumpkins can be planted for the young and dried pumpkins, while the young leaves and tips of the pumpkins can be cooked; cassava for its tuber and for its young leaves, not to mention calaloo, which grows as a weed, but a very nutritious part of any diet.
There are so many more that do not need any spraying. Another thing to consider is that you need at least one year of hard work to make your farm productive enough to feed your family. Six months will be needed to clear the land and six months at the most to reap what you planted.
But if you do as I do, you can find ways to do this. I haven’t received a penny from the government, but find ways to streamline my budget and now I am eating out of my garden. A friend of mine loaned us a cow to milk, and we get enough milk to drink and make cheese, cream, butter and yogurt.
It’s amazing the sense of freedom you will feel to be able to feed your own family, as I do with my family of eight.
Now to the land issues. We in Belize have a lot of land, but unfortunately, most of it is in the hands of foreigners or in large timber concessions. I have looked into it and these people own anywhere from ten thousand acres all the way up to forty thousand acres of land they are not using.
We must find a way to approach them and ask them to sell us land so our people can farm. I am sure squatting is not the way, but I don’t rule it out as a means of acquiring land to feed our families. The government could help us out with small dirt roads and in surveying these lands. I believe that with hard work and a strong trust in our Most High God, we can overcome these times.
If anyone needs encouragement, please call 666-2830.
Sincerely, Andy Jones
(Ed. NOTE: Well said, Mr. Andy Jones. We wish you continued success in your “grassroots” endeavors.)