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NATS Committee announces Farmers of the Year 2024

HighlightsNATS Committee announces Farmers of the Year 2024

Photo: (left) Senior Farmer of the Year, Nandy Esban Aldana; (right) Female Farmer of the Year, Sarah Chub and (bottom right) Junior Farmer of the Year, Maura Esther Escobar

by Kristen Ku

BELIZE CITY, Tues. Apr. 9, 2024

The National Agriculture and Trade Show (NATS) Committee announced the names of the three recipients of the Farmer of the Year Award 2024, via press release on Tuesday of this week, after a series of visits by the NATS Committee to farms throughout the country.

After reviewing what they observed during those visits, the committee decided to name Nandy Esban Aldana, 27, of the Corozal District the Senior Farmer of the Year, and 37-year-old Sarah Chub of the Belize District the Female Farmer of the Year. The Junior Farmer of the Year award was given to 24-year-old Maura Esther Escobar of the Cayo District.

Aldana, who has been farming for almost 17 years, became familiar with farming techniques while helping his father in the fields when he was a schoolboy, and later he acquired a 10-acre farm in Concepcion Village.

“I put all my hard work and dedication into this because, in reality, it had always been a goal for me, especially after winning Junior Farmer of the Year 12 years ago. This win makes me emotional,” he told AMANDALA.

On his farm, known as “Nandy’s Farm”, he plants sweet corn, cabbage, onions, carrots and cucumbers.

Chub, a mother of two, began farming almost 14 years ago with the goal of becoming a businesswoman, and has instilled a commitment to farming within her own family.

“I feel very happy. I enjoy doing what I do because I feel comfortable,” Chub commented after being named an award recipient.

On her 30-acre farm, located in Boston Village, she plants coconuts, plantains, sweet peppers, and tomatoes, which are sold at the Belize City market every Saturday.

The Junior Farmer of the Year, Escobar, who mainly focuses on growing dragon fruit, tomatoes and cantaloupe, said that she grew up accompanying her parents to the field, and that she has been farming for the past 10 years.

Her 50-acre farm, called “La Finca Escobar” or “Escobar Farm” in English, is located in Spanish Lookout. “I am proud of myself. I’d like to give thanks that they (NATS) gave me a chance to win. I did my best!” she told AMANDALA.

The NATS Committee stated in their press release, “The Committee congratulates all winners for their hard work and dedication, and applauds all farmers for their contributions to the livelihood and well-being of the economy of our jewel, Belize. Thanks also to the judges for their selfless contribution.”

The National Agriculture and Trade Show will be held under the theme, “Integrating Sustainable Food Systems: Mitigating Climate Change, Strengthening Agricultural Resilience”, and is scheduled to take place from April 26-28 at the National Agriculture and Trade Show Grounds in Belmopan.

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