Agriculture and Tourism - they are two completely different sectors, right? Well, maybe they're not that far apart. After all when Tourists come visiting they have to eat - and many of them want to eat what's called organic produce - which means that no chemicals have contaminated them.
Now the Organization of American States and the Tourism Board along with the Yache Conservation trust have launched a major initiative to get farmers growing this kind of produce in the south.
At the launch today, Bart Teul of Yaxche explained that there are caveats:…
Bart Teul - Yache Conservation Trust
"Are all not that attractive. You find some puny tomatoes, some puny bananas, some callaloo leaves that have holes in it and most of the people at the market says that they don't want this and plus its expensive. They fail to realize that it's the chemicals that make all these big red juicy tomato look attractive, but it's not as good for health. so these are some of the things that we are promoting and with this project I'm excited about it because it be looking at how we could expand or open up more markets for organic produce. More and more us Belizeans don't understand that maybe some of the disease that we are suffering may be related directly to too many chemicals in our food but the visitors who come to Belize - they know and they ask for organic produce."
Kim Osbourne, OAS Belize
"There is absolutely no reason why we should import red and yellow peppers, shallots, time all of these are currently being imported in Belize and we have proven under this project and as you will see in the green house later on that we've
experimented with those products and they are all growing and growing bountifully. So there is really no need for us to let that tourism dollars skip by importing those products from international sources."
The program is called "Garden to Table" and has already generated USDA certified organic produce.
It includes organic fruits, vegetables, and naturally produced honey and preservatives.