In October 15th of 1990, the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Belize Government signed “The Agricultural Technology Cooperation Agreement” which implemented several projects in Belize aided by Taiwan Government. The Taiwan Technical Mission through its years of cooperation has built a strong friendship with Belize. Through the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund (Taiwan ICDF), the Taiwan Mission has implemented many projects in Belize. There three most recent projects are Horticultural Development Project, Rice Seed Production Project and Agro-Processing Project.
For the past four years, the Government of the Republic of China on Taiwan has put in a total of $3,184,171 US. However, in July 2013 Taiwan Technical Mission handed over the joint account and the revolving fund for the three projects to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture and on November 27th 2013, the Ambassador handed over all of the properties of these three projects. We were at this morning’s handing over ceremony where the Ambassador David Wu and Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Gaspar Vega signed some documents giving GOB full responsibility for these three projects.
“It was an agreement that was made four to five years ago where the Government of Taiwan was supporting us with some new projects that includes the horticulture, rice seedling, the agro processing why we do all our dry fruits. Basically, what we are doing is we are assuming all responsibilities now. We are going to take over the responsibilities of the staffing; the entire staff is now…Government is going to be paying for them (that was an agreement that was made a few years ago) I would like to put it as simple as… that’s basically what it is. Taiwan is saying, we are finished. Now, it’s the Government that will continue the projects”.
But is GOB ready? Is our government capable of managing the projects and further developing them without continued assistance from the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan)? Deputy Prime Minister says they are.
Hon. Gaspar Vega: “Our commitment is to ensure that the projects continue in a satisfactory manner. We believe that we are fully capable. The staff has been trained by all the technical expertise that these people have. We are confident that the can go ahead with the project”.
We asked Hon. Gaspar Vega if GOB has any long term plan of development for the projects. He said there is one tentative plan and it involves scholarships.
Hon. Gaspar Vega: “We were talking a bit about having some scholarships to students and it’s a good thing that we are talking about it because we want to send at least two persons to study the special projects that we are accepting from the Taiwanese government, so that they become very successful, and not for just a couple of years, but for the long run. I think the ambassador said that he is going to look into assuring, so that anyone that is interested, can call at the Agriculture Department here, my CEO, Mr. Alpuche or anyone in the Agriculture so that we can guide them as to what we need them to study”.
The Ambassador of Taiwan David Wu assured the public at large that and we quote “The transfer of these three projects is not the end of the technical cooperation between two countries; on the contrary, it will be a new beginning of the cooperation between our two countries” end quote.
The Ambassador also highlighted two new projects that are being introduced in Belize through the Taiwan Mission; mainly the Greening Disease of the citrus, and the Implementation of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Citrus Project