Ministry of Economic Development inks MOU with the Met Service
The Ministry of Economic Development, through the Resilient Rural Belize (RRB) Program, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the National Meteorological Service (MET) of Belize. This MOU is part of the RRB Program’s investment in territorial climate-resilient assets. Specifically, a climate information system will be procured and housed at the Met Office in Ladyville. According to Chief Meteorologist, Ronald Gordon says this will be used as the principal mechanism through which climate information will be archived, analysed, modelled, exchanged and processed.
Ronald Gordon, Chief Meteorologist: “As the department that is always seeking avenues for collaboration with all our stakeholders but especially with agricultural sector we of course were excited about this opportunity and became very engaged in the process. Then COVID came around and the process slowed down dramatically however I must say that we have a team that is very determined and as soon as the opportunity came around to reengage the process was restarted. The purpose of the memorandum of understanding is to set forth the terms and conditions, scope of work and responsibilities of the parties associated with their collaboration on the described program. In other words this formalizes what has been occurring since the inception of the project. While I certainly agree that it is crucial to have a document that spells out the procedures and responsibilities in a very clear manner it is also important to note the significance of the final products that will be developed from this collaboration. The national Met Service of Belize plays a very critical role not only in providing day-to-day weather forecasts and alerts to the public we also provide products and services geared towards specific sectors. We can all agree that weather and climate can have significant impacts on all sectors of our economy this is especially true given the extreme weather conditions that have become the norm and are likely associated or are associated to the climate change and climate variability.”
The CIS will, therefore, provide farmers with timely and accurate climate information, allowing them to plan their activities accordingly and minimize climate-related losses to their crops. Senior Climatologist, Shanea Young added that farmers will access critical information in real-time to help them make better decisions.
Shanea Young, Senior Climatologist, Met Office: “With the increasing risk and increasing climate risk there is also growing need for increased collaboration as was already mentioned and the co production of climate services to increase the capacity of not just the Met Service but also the users of the information that we provide and for them to understand the applicability of the information whether it’s weather or climate forecasts that can support the needs of the farmers in dealing with climate streams and also climate change. It is our goal at the Met Service to work eagerly with our partners to protect livelihoods and to continue to contribute to the enhancement of the social and economic well-being of these communities but also the residents in the area and currently the Met Service has a strong partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and have already started to work with extension services to connect the farmers to climate information and also to increase their understanding and use of the products that we currently offer. We have made significant strides in fostering departments to assist farmers in minimizing production losses, especially due to extreme weather events like the recent floods that we had.”
CEO of the Ministry of Economic Development, Dr Osmond Martinez expressed that introducing science and technology to farmers is essential as agriculture is a driving sector for Belize and these advances will lead to a more efficient cultivation of farmed lands and expand the scale, speed, and productivity of farmers and their yields.
Dr.Osmond Martinez, CEO, Ministry of Economic Development: “We need to introduce science and technology to the agro productive sector and today we are moving into science and also technology. Again just like during hurricane time we need information the agro productive sector also needs information and to have climate related information in times of high impacts of climate change that we are seeing in our nation and not only in our nation but throughout the whole globe the world you know it is giving us – we will need to have all the necessary information to be more effective in terms of producing and to be able to produce what we consume. So in other words food security. Secondly to move to an app is not only science and technology but now we are moving to the digital time, innovation time and for the farmers to be able to hold an app and be able to receive first-hand information instant information this is critical for our farmers.”