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Small-scale farming in Belize

Research Achievements

Small-scale farming in Belize

Trainee Carmen Cortez studies small-scale farming and agricultural methods in a rural community in Belize. She conducts her research from the joint perspectives of cultural economics and ecology to analyze farmer’s objectives in agricultural outputs in terms of household demographics, consumption and material needs, labor, and environmental factors that contribute to maize cultivation. She aims to understand the decision mechanisms that bind household economic needs to the persistent use of a two-season maize system, the milpa and matahambre cycle, and the subsequent consequences for possible agricultural sustainability.

Cortez will use her results to inform international agricultural development. Altering farming practices without full consideration of household decision making, the circumstances under which decisions are made, their environmental consequences, and farmers' input is detrimental to long term sustainability of both natural and human communities.