SAN LAZARO VILLAGE, Orange Walk District, Tues. Oct. 19, 2021– On Tuesday, October 19, the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment, and the National Designated Authority (NDA) to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Dr. Osmond Martinez, visited a wild cane research plot in San Lazaro, Orange Walk to assess the feasibility of a project to generate energy using wild cane and to discuss the development of a funding proposal to the GCF for this intended project.
Using biomass materials, which include remnants of various types of agricultural produce, eco-friendly and sustainable bioenergy can be generated, which in turn can be used to supplement Belize’s electricity supply.
The wild cane energy initiative is the result of a February 2019 agreement between the Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute (SIRDI), the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) for the development of a pilot project that would provide local authorities with pertinent information on the viability of an alternative green energy source.
During CEO Martinez’s visit, Dr. Luciano Chi, the director and research coordinator at SIRDI, detailed the many activities undertaken by SIRDI since the conceptualization of the project — including land preparation, proper planning and designing, soil sampling, planting fertilization and data collection and analysis of the factors affecting plant growth. Additionally, Ms. Omaira Avila, the CARDI representative in Belize, informed the group of CARDI’s completed tasks. During her briefing, she explained that CARDi has been engaged in the national collection of planting material, an assessment of the species of wild cane found in Belize and a germination evaluation that will be used as a template for the planting experiment in Orange Walk.
The project officer at CCCCC, Earl Green, highlighted the importance of the results of the viability report. If wild cane could be used to produce biomass fuel for energy generation, this initiative would be significant in charting a way forward for Belize to become an energy exporter.
In his address, CEO Martinez underscored the importance of involving members of Belize’s academia in the research being done so that Belizeans will be privy to knowledge of one of the most pressing issues at this time — the impact of climate change on agriculture. The GCF and Belize Electricity Limited have collaborated to increase the involvement of academia. Jointly, they have provided grant funding for studies facilitated by the CCCCC.