Water Management and Climate Change Unit

Goal

To develop a climate resilient agriculture sector in Belize through the fulfillment of climate change adaptation and mitigation activities using sustainable practices and the promotion of climate smart agricultural technologies.

Background

One of the challenges of the Ministry of Agriculture is the change brought about by global warming. Climate change in different agro-ecological zones means that farmers have to deal with a new range of uncertainties (i.e. rainfall and seasonal distribution, change of growing seasons, unavailability of water, droughts, floods, etc.) in addition to their everyday burden. Agriculture employs 20 % of the Belizean workforce, and contributes approximately 13% to the gross domestic product (GDP) and accounts for 75% of Belize’s exports. More than BZ$292 million is generated by three traditional commodities: sugar, citrus and bananas, whereas other export earners include red kidney beans, black-eyed peas, pepper sauces and cocoa beans. Domestic agriculture includes rice, corn, beans, plantains, root crops, vegetables, poultry, cattle and pigs. The aquaculture sub-sector primarily farmed shrimp is also a significant contributor to the Belizean economy.  Therefore, Belize relies heavily on its agricultural sector which is also very sensitive to climatic variations and could be one of the most affected as a result. Additionally, there is an increase pressure on the existing water, land and agricultural resources which will increase existing vulnerability and may create new ones. The ministry mandate of food security and poverty reduction must have a role, on its own and in association with others, to respond to climate change both through adaptation and mitigation thus this unit has a fundamental role in bridging the gap between relevant stakeholders to sustainably combat the effects of climate change by achieving climate resiliency through the short, medium and long term decisions.

Purpose

The Irrigation and Drainage Unit (IDU) was established in order to promote drainage and irrigation technology among producers for improved crop water management, cope with the effects of climate change and to increase overall crop productivity.

Objectives

  1. To provide field technical assistance and support in irrigation.
  2. To gather, compile and analyze data and information pertaining to irrigation and drainage systems.
  3. To provide technical trainings; collaborate with Research to identify suitable irrigation regimes for specific crops.
  4. To carry out evaluation of irrigation systems and mobilize resources for irrigation and drainage promotion.

Stakeholder Cooperation and Support

Over the past years, the Unit has received capacity building assistance from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and European Union. This has been in the form of field irrigation equipment and trainings for the technicians. FAO also provided technical assistance to the Ministry for the development of a draft Policy and Strategy for drainage and irrigation. Technical support was received to carry out an economic analysis and costing for the possible implementation of the policy and strategy. Presently, the Caribbean Development Bank is building on this work by further providing technical assistance to develop an investment plan and projects in drainage and irrigation for possible financing. Through IICA, the Central American Initiative for the adaptation to Climate Change is also providing guidance for the strengthening of national plans in irrigation.

Technical Capacity (Human capital Competency)

At present the Unit has two Extension-Irrigation field technicians – one based in Orange Walk responsible for Corozal, Orange Walk and Belize Districts and the other officer is based at Central Farm with responsibility for the remainder of the country. These officers specifically focus in providing technical support in irrigation design and installation; installation and management of fertigation systems; irrigation for covered structures; irrigation trainings; data collection and project formulation in irrigation for small producers. The IDU also networks with agencies affiliated with water in particular with the recently formed National Integrated Water Resources Authority. Since the post of Irrigation Office is presently vacant, the Unit is monitored and supervised through the office of the Principal Agriculture Officer. Officers can be contacted through the Extension Offices of Cayo and Orange Walk or through the main office in Belmopan.

Organogram

+ Climate Change

Goal

To develop a climate resilient agriculture sector in Belize through the fulfillment of climate change adaptation and mitigation activities using sustainable practices and the promotion of climate smart agricultural technologies.

Background

One of the challenges of the Ministry of Agriculture is the change brought about by global warming. Climate change in different agro-ecological zones means that farmers have to deal with a new range of uncertainties (i.e. rainfall and seasonal distribution, change of growing seasons, unavailability of water, droughts, floods, etc.) in addition to their everyday burden. Agriculture employs 20 % of the Belizean workforce, and contributes approximately 13% to the gross domestic product (GDP) and accounts for 75% of Belize’s exports. More than BZ$292 million is generated by three traditional commodities: sugar, citrus and bananas, whereas other export earners include red kidney beans, black-eyed peas, pepper sauces and cocoa beans. Domestic agriculture includes rice, corn, beans, plantains, root crops, vegetables, poultry, cattle and pigs. The aquaculture sub-sector primarily farmed shrimp is also a significant contributor to the Belizean economy.  Therefore, Belize relies heavily on its agricultural sector which is also very sensitive to climatic variations and could be one of the most affected as a result. Additionally, there is an increase pressure on the existing water, land and agricultural resources which will increase existing vulnerability and may create new ones. The ministry mandate of food security and poverty reduction must have a role, on its own and in association with others, to respond to climate change both through adaptation and mitigation thus this unit has a fundamental role in bridging the gap between relevant stakeholders to sustainably combat the effects of climate change by achieving climate resiliency through the short, medium and long term decisions.

+ Irrigation and Drainage Unit

Purpose

The Irrigation and Drainage Unit (IDU) was established in order to promote drainage and irrigation technology among producers for improved crop water management, cope with the effects of climate change and to increase overall crop productivity.

Objectives

  1. To provide field technical assistance and support in irrigation.
  2. To gather, compile and analyze data and information pertaining to irrigation and drainage systems.
  3. To provide technical trainings; collaborate with Research to identify suitable irrigation regimes for specific crops.
  4. To carry out evaluation of irrigation systems and mobilize resources for irrigation and drainage promotion.

Stakeholder Cooperation and Support

Over the past years, the Unit has received capacity building assistance from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and European Union. This has been in the form of field irrigation equipment and trainings for the technicians. FAO also provided technical assistance to the Ministry for the development of a draft Policy and Strategy for drainage and irrigation. Technical support was received to carry out an economic analysis and costing for the possible implementation of the policy and strategy. Presently, the Caribbean Development Bank is building on this work by further providing technical assistance to develop an investment plan and projects in drainage and irrigation for possible financing. Through IICA, the Central American Initiative for the adaptation to Climate Change is also providing guidance for the strengthening of national plans in irrigation.

Technical Capacity (Human capital Competency)

At present the Unit has two Extension-Irrigation field technicians – one based in Orange Walk responsible for Corozal, Orange Walk and Belize Districts and the other officer is based at Central Farm with responsibility for the remainder of the country. These officers specifically focus in providing technical support in irrigation design and installation; installation and management of fertigation systems; irrigation for covered structures; irrigation trainings; data collection and project formulation in irrigation for small producers. The IDU also networks with agencies affiliated with water in particular with the recently formed National Integrated Water Resources Authority. Since the post of Irrigation Office is presently vacant, the Unit is monitored and supervised through the office of the Principal Agriculture Officer. Officers can be contacted through the Extension Offices of Cayo and Orange Walk or through the main office in Belmopan.

Organogram

Climate Change Weather Forecast and Its Effects To Agriculture

Rainfall forecast for Belize for the period March-April-May 2018 (MAM 2018) is for near normal rainfall for most of the country. Temperatures are expected to be above normal during this period.

Approximate rainfall amounts that are expected over different regions of the country during the period March-April-May 2018 are as follows:

RegionRainfall Amount (mm)Category
North (Orange Walk and Corozal Districts)160 - 200Near Normal
Central Inland Areas (Cayo District)180 - 250Near Normal
Central Coastal Areas (Belize District)180 - 280Near Normal
Southern Areas (Stann Creek and Toledo Districts)260 - 400Near Normal

 

The rainfall forecast for Belize for the period June-July-August 2018 (JJA 2018) is expected to be near normal over the central inland and central coastal portions of the country and below normal over extreme northern and north-western Belize. Maximum and minimum temperatures are expected to be normal to above normal.

Approximate rainfall amounts that are expected over different regions of the country during the period June-July-August  2018 are as follows:

RegionRainfall Amount (mm)Category
North (Orange Walk and Corozal Districts)380 - 450Below Normal
Central Inland Areas (Cayo District)500 - 800Near Normal
Central Coastal Areas (Belize District)500 - 700Near Normal
Southern Areas (Stann Creek and Toledo Districts)700 - 1600Below Normal
Data source: National Meteorological Service of Belize

Climate change weather forecast & its effects to agriculture for Belize. Dec. 2017, Jan & Feb. 2018

CommodityZoneDistrictPossible effects and actions to mitigate effect
1. PoultryNorth, Central Inland & Central CoastalCorozal, Orange Walk, Cayo & BelizeIncrease in Newcastle, Avian Influenza and Bronchitis disease outbreak due to low temperature and bird migration
- Increase active surveillance for early detection and control measures of poultry diseases
- Increase public awareness
- Increase biosecurity measures in poultry farms
SouthStann Creek & ToledoIncrease in Newcastle and Avian influenza virus disease outbreak in Southern region; possible bronchitis disease outbreak as well
- Implementation of vaccination program against Newcastle disease
- Training of farmer on how to vaccinate against newcastle
- Public awareness and educational trainings
- Increase surveillance (active and passive) for early detection and control measures
2. CattleNorth, Central Inland & CoastalOrange Walk, Corozal, Cayo & BelizeCan cause an increase in internal and external parasites; as well as increase in rabies outbreak
- Recommended timely vaccination against rabies and deworming of animals along with pasture management
- Increase bat trapping of hematofagous bats
- Ensure adequate water supply and hay storage or protein banks
SouthStann Creek & ToledoElevated risk of rabies transmission in cattle as well as vesicular disease outbreak
- Increase surveillance for transboundary diseases
- Increase rabies vaccination where applicable
- Increase in bat trapping program required
3. PigsNorth, Central Inland & CoastalCorozal, Orange Walk, Cayo & BelizeIncrease in gastro intestinal and respiratory infections
- Proper farm management
- Implement deworming strategies and monitoring of symptoms
SouthStann Creek & ToledoIncrease in Diarrhea infection
- Proper farm management
- Increase public awareness
4. SheepNorth, Central Inland & CoastalCorozal, Orange Walk, Cayo & BelizeIncrease in internal and external parasites
- Deworming of animals and vitamin shots required
- Proper farm management
SouthStann Creek & ToledoIncrease in risk for vascular and transboundary disease that can potentially enter Belize
- Continue surveillance (active and passive) program for these transboundary diseases
- Proper farm management

Climate change weather forecast & its effects to agriculture for Belize. Dec. 2017, Jan & Feb. 2018

CommodityZoneDistrictPossible Effects and actions to mitigate effect
1. SugarcaneNorth & Central InlandCorozal, Orange Walk & CayoWill favor Psyllid population growth
- Increase monitoring of population
dynamics
- Increase monitoring effort to know pest dynamics and other disease surveillance
SouthStann Creek & Toledo- Develop and implement a monitoring
system for the froghopper and other diseases
2. CitrusCentral InlandCayoWill favour psyllid population growth
- Increase monitoring of population
dynamics
-Initiate area wide control measure

Can increase the mite population a vector for the citrus leprosis virus
- Miticide spray might be necessary for
control
SouthStann Creek & ToledoThis will suppress the population growh
for psylid

Will increase disease outbreak like
phythophtora
- Clean drainage system and weed control, monitoring of the disease

Can increase outbreak of greasy spot
- Fungicide application might be
necessary
3. BananasSouthStann Creek & ToledoPossible increase of Sigatoka outbreak
- Continue monitoring and control of
Sigatoka
4. Grains:
• Corn
• Rice
• Beans
• Soy bean
• Sorghum
North & Central InlandCorozal, Orange Walk & CayoThis will increase chances of army worms,
cut worm and corn ear worm
- Monitoring and preventative spray with
insecticide
- Monitoring and control measures for
white fly in beans
SouthStann Creek & ToledoThis will favour population growth of corn ear worm and army worm
- Monitoring and control measures where
necessary
5. Horticulture:
• Tomatoes
• Peppers
• Onions
• Cabbage
• Carrots
• Potato
North & Central InlandCorozal, Orange Walk, Cayo & BelizeThis will favor leaf minors, white flies, thrips and viral diseases
- Monitoring and implementing effective
control measures
- Cover structure production where
possible
SouthStann Creek & ToledoThis will favor increase in white fly, thrips, leaf minor populations and fungal diseases
- increase monitoring and effective
control measures
6. Fruit Trees:
• Coconuts
• Avocados
• Soursop
North & Central InlandCorozal, Orange Walk, Cayo & BelizeCan increase red mite population in coconuts
- Spray with miticide

Increase in white fly population
- Monitoring and spray with systemic
insecticide
SouthStann Creek & ToledoThis can increase pyhtophtora problems in coconuts
- Monitoring and control with systemic fungicides or infected tree elimination

This can increase Anthracnose disease in avocado and soursop
- Monitoring and fungicide spray