History making harvest in Banana Bank

Belize Camping Experience (BCE) has made a historic undertaking by uniting more than 20 farmers and 11 combines for the Harvest for Kids project.

The event took place on the farm of John Carr, in Banana Bank in the Cayo district on Saturday, October 6.

Twenty acres of crop land were harvested  by  eleven combines working in tandem, yielding 100,000 pounds of corn in only 26 minutes. According to Alexander Perez, director of BCE, “We harvested 117, 000lb wet, 99,261 lb dry. That is 5850 wet per acre and 4963 dry per acre or  50 sacks of corn per acre.”

Perez indicted that the corn will be sold locally, mostly for chicken feed, but he anticipates that the corn  will one day be sold on the international market. 

He went on to say: “We will not know how much profit we will get for BCE until the corn is sold.” Proceeds from the sale of the corn will fund the various summer camps and other community work BCE does. However, overhead expenses must be cleared first, then BCE gets to keep the net value.

Harvest for Kids began in April, an effort by BCE to reach out to at risk south-side children. The children were taken out to the farm and were taught the various practices of farm work, viewed the planting process and were also introduced to some of the machinery used in crop growing.

The children returned to the farm two more times to see how much the corn had grown since it had been planted.

Hundreds of spectators, supporters, farmers and even media personnel gathered on the farm to witness the massive undertaking, that saw the collaborative efforts of BCE and those that believed in what they are trying to accomplish.

Farmer John Carr told the media that he has never seen anything like it. The goal was to reap the harvest within 15 minutes, however due to some mechanical problems the time was extended. Optimistic, Perez said, “Next year we’ll try for 20 minutes instead of 26.”

Present for the event were the 20 children that originally started the Harvest for Kids Project, as well as others from various camps that BCE had held.

Sasha Garnett, summer camp director BCE, puts the number at around 40 total. BCE members say the message behind the effort is to foster a sense of hope for the children involved in the programs, to give alternatives to violence and foster a community spirit within them.

With the effort being a huge success and rallying as much public support as it has, BCE has already declared plans for a follow up next year. With local farmers such as  John Carr and Nathan Jaeger giving their full support, they expect the next Harvest for Kids to have an even greater impact.

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