SOLAGUA PROJECT MISSION & VISION
The mission of Solagua Project is to provide high-quality produce throughout Belize utilizing climate-safe, sustainably powered, hydroponic greenhouse innovation, at low or no cost to those in need of food relief.
The vision of the Solagua Project is to provide innovation in agriculture to improve food security, expand employment opportunities, reduce agricultural import dependence, supplement disaster preparedness, and offer new promotional opportunities for tourism in Belize without seeking to profit.
About Solagua Project
ABOUT SOLAGUA PROJECT
The high yields and short harvest cycles of hydroponic agriculture can produce approximately one pound of produce, per square foot, per month, using less water than traditional agriculture methods, and can be established in areas lacking arable soil. When utilizing climate-safe, hurricane rated greenhouses, hydroponic innovation can have positive impacts in many areas of need in Belize. Solagua Project was founded to address the following:
With the most tourism-dependent countries worldwide, Latin America and the Caribbean are suffering an unprecedented economic downturn from the sudden halt in tourism brought on by COVID-19 1.
With tourism halted for six months, Belize, like other countries in the region, faces major economic instability. This instability creates secondary problems that Solagua Project will work to improve. As a non-profit organization, Solagua Project can utilize worldwide donations in lieu of investment capital which is often challenging to obtain in areas of a weakened economy.
Decreased purchasing power, mainly because of unemployment, has negatively impacted access to food by a large percentage of households in Belize. Acting as soon as possible to ensure availability and access to food for affected people is of the utmost importance 2. While food relief organizations are operating in Belize, the distribution of much-needed meals and pantry provisions consist mostly of staples and lack a consistent supply of vitamin-rich produce. Solagua Project hydroponic greenhouse in Caye Caulker, Belize will supplement existing food relief efforts with high-quality, locally grown produce.
The vulnerable sectors of Latin America and the Caribbean, including Belize, will be the first to see their food security affected by COVID-19. Agricultural incentives are recommended by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations 3. This region “is crying out for investments to boost resilience and food security,” as stated by the Secretary-General of CARICOM 4. Hydroponic greenhouse technology provides a higher yield with lower water consumption when compared to soil; this makes it an ideal solution for improving food security 5.
Belize’s Unemployment Rate is forecasted to be 18.68 % by the end of 2020, only expecting to improve to 14.58% by the end of 2021 6. However, the unemployment rate in parts of Belize with the heaviest tourism dependence may exceed projections. Hydroponic greenhouses have the ability to create new employment opportunities outside of the tourism sector.
Like many other countries in the region, Belize has been too reliant on imports, including produce. Belize operates with a hefty trade deficit 7. Despite the success of commercial hydroponic greenhouses elsewhere in the Caribbean, Belize has not yet initiated hydroponic innovation to reduce agricultural imports. Through expansion and cooperative commercial endeavors, Solagua Project can assist Belize in a strategy to lower dependence on imports of some produce.
Expanding hydroponic greenhouse innovation throughout Belize offers the opportunity to provide a new layer of disaster preparedness. When coupled with sustainable energy sources such as solar and hydro panels, hydroponic greenhouses can assist in agricultural recovery, and supply temporary power and water to emergency responders and others in need during disaster recovery. The use of hurricane-rated greenhouses can offer protection against crop loss sustained during catastrophic weather events.
Expanding the local produce selection to include high-quality produce, currently not readily available in Belize, would allow restaurants and resorts an opportunity to promote new fine dining experiences in Belize with a fresh approach.