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Belize banana farms to benefit from EU and BEL Electrification Project

According to a representative from the Belize Electricity Limited(BEL), Vonetta Burrell, Public Relations Manager, the current coverage of BEL in the country is at 92% and is expected to reach 98% by 2020. 

With the initiative, over 200 communities and a total of 5,000 households in both new and existing communities will be impacted. The project will require approximately $35 million to achieve and as a part of achieving that, residents in Cowpen have received electricity for the first time. 

As a part of the European Union’s mission to improve lives, as well as that shared mission with BEL, several banana farms were beneficiaries of the project. Media personnel were taken on a tour of the Go Bananas! Farm along with Malgorzata Wasilewska, EU Ambassador, to get a firsthand experience on the difference electrification has made on the lives of the residents of Cowpen, the workers on the farms, as well as the overall functionality of the farm. 

While banana production involves more than the implementation of electricity, it does play a vital role in the productivity of the farm and its people.

After being hung and cut, the fruits receive a primary wash to rid them of surface dirt. Since the introduction of electricity at the farm however, this process has been done more efficiently with an automated sprayer which gives a faster and more powerful jet stream. 

Several parts of the process have now been automated but for Peraza, the biggest change has been seen in the drastic reduction in the cost of fuel needed to operate generators. 

The electrification project took place in April and according to Peraza, there has been a 40% reduction in costs. Some of the fuel now purchased goes to the backup generator. Aside from financial relief, there is also a decrease in noise pollution and the emission of pollutants into the air. 

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