One of the most underused resources in Belize is its arable land. In 2011 Wikipedia estimated that only 3.6% or 1,080 of the 22,966 square kilometers in Belize was cultivated. It also claimed that only 3.3% of the country is arable land. The Maya Mountain Range takes up a significant reserved portion and many lagoons and swamps near the coast do make Belize land for agriculture limited. However, there are new technologies and science making deserts bloom. Belize can make good use of its unused land, deemed arable or not, to feed Belize and some of those who no longer have space to produce enough food for their populations.
Belize is certainly not 100% arable land. However, aerial views from Google Earth, drones or aircraft show that much of the arable land already distributed not cultivated. This is confirmed by high prices and heavy importation of food and beverages. Unused distributed land ranges from small 10-50 acres plots in agricultural layouts to 1,000's of acres given out under concessions to create jobs. Many of these concessions never realized the job and economic benefits. Small farmers with the opportunity to own land and participate in feeding the nation, have always given a courageous and hopeful fight. Some have abandoned the fight over the years as their children migrate to urban areas for more preferred jobs. Often the real reason was that the farm did not offer the desired lifestyle. Times have changed and in Belize most rural communites now have piped water, electricity, telephone, internet, cable tv and reliable transportation. Some offer more than others but they all offer more personal space than urban areas.
Distributing small farm plots has been around for a long time. An online copy of the British Honduras Gazette confirms that this was so and over the years most of the arable land distributed has been small plots to locals. The capitalists among us may say that this was not the right thing to do but looking at the few big parcels that were issued to wealthy locals and foreigners, we can see that not much more was done with those to affect the countries economy and provide good jobs. They mostly have been exploitation of labor, foreign and local, to compete with the large companies in neighboring countries that were doing so to have an edge.
In the early 1900's when the British gave out those small parcels, the vision of feeding the nation was a necessity. Shipping was for only the essentials that Belize did not produce. Today we are importing most of our food and our diet has changed from local staples to unknown mixtures in packages. Today, the health of our population depends on farmers getting back to the business of produce food that ensure healty meals for our population. A plate of boil up or soup should not be an expensive dish on the menu because of its main ingredients. It is easier said than done but hope should prevail and ongoing efforts at the Ministry of Agriculture can work with participation from farmers and those who own land.
Thankfully, they there are those still fighting today, living off the land. Regularly they are being joined by foreigners and ambitious locals who still believe that we can do it. The Development of Finance Cooperation and most local lending institution offer loans on viable plans. Form or join a co-op in your area. There is strength and greater ideas in unity. If you prefer doing it on your own, we invite you to join our Facebook Group where you can share ideas and ask information from members. We look forward to your comments and contributions in this forum. Thanks for reading. pleae browse our site and see some of the things that Belize offers.