The Banana Accompanying Measure is a support package for 10 banana-exporting countries including Belize. Belize received a total of 40 Million Euros from BAM to facilitate its adjustment to a new trading system. The Banana Accompanying Management seeks to see improvements in technical areas such as Water Management, increased yield in banana farming, and the improvement of social conditions of workers and their households. Approximately 5 million boxes of bananas are shipped per year from Belize. Of that shipment, approximately 10% or 50 thousand boxes of rejected bananas are made available in the country. This morning, BAM’S project Manager for Sagitun and Arnold’s Farm, Dwight Neal, told us about one of his ideas to make use of those rejected bananas.
Dwight Neal, BAM Project Manager Sagitun, and Arnold Farm: Basically, I came up with the idea. My home is in Belmopan but I’m not often in the area, sometimes I am gone three or four days at a stretch, depending on what I need to do. But I have to come down to Belmopan, at least one once a week. So, I thought about it and said why not bring some bananas to Belmopan. So, I started to bring bananas to Belmopan, green bananas and just giving it away. Then, I discussed with Mr. Zabanneh, I said ‘listen I had wanted to start a program to give away bananas to schools, ripe bananas. But, I don’t want to interrupt anything that is already happening in terms of the feeding programs. I just want to provide support. So I started asking around, because these bananas if you leave them to ripe on their own they take about three weeks. If you put them in a ripening room where you enhance the conditions, then they will be ripened in a week.
According to Dwight, he has been using EU funds to buy the crates needed to package and ship the Bananas to
Belmopan. However, he was recently informed that EU will no longer stupport the Project because it exists outside the Stann Creek District. Neal is now making a public appeal for the donation of 24 crates in order to get the bananas packaged and sent to the schools.
Dwight Neal, BAM Project Manager Sagitun, and Arnold Farm: The pilot to my mind has worked perfectly, except that now I cannot put it as part of the feasibility, at least the portion in Belmopan, I cannot put it as part of the feasibility for the EU project. The question then becomes where will that leave this thing that has been caught enthusiastically? Well, they have not said that I cannot continue the program, but they just said I cannot link it to the feasibility for the EU project. So, what I would want to do on todays show is to appeal to people in Belmopan, just to purchase a box for me, because that is the only component that the EU is providing to the initiative, just the boxes. I need about 24 boxes because the boxes I have now all have the EU sticker on the sides, so I have to move those back to the Stann Creek District. If I could get 24, 25 or any amount of boxes because obviously this program looks like it’s going to catch on.
Belmopan schools wishing to become a part of the Project can contact Neal.