REPORT #37 Jan 1999

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

There is an article in the newspaper Reporter of Oct. 3rd, 1999, by Angel Novelo that is sort of interesting. It seems that the Citrus Growers Association and IX CHEL Tropical Research Foundation of San Ignacio have signed up for 15 months of technical assistance valued at $200,000 Bz. The project is to help them with marketing ORGANIC grown niche market foods. There is something called ORGANIC CITRUS JUICES in Europe. You have to go through some certification process. Cuba and Mexico are exporting organic products. IX CHEL the Tropical Research Foundation about which I would like much more information in San Ignacio is also interested, in promoting organic Rain Forest Remedies. They focus on herbal medicines. The Multilateral Investment Fund puts it's money through the Inter American Development Bank and locally, Reynaldo Guerrero with his BIM outfit ( Belize Institute of Management) is the local agent, or GRANT CONTROLLER and project co-ordinator for such funds coming from the bank. It all sounds very good.

For those of you USA bound, here is a little background on Herbal Medicines. There is very little solid scientific information in the USA. Indeed, I cannot even find a Homeopathic doctor in the whole state of Florida. We have to communicate with one in Bogota, Colombia by long distance phone at our family level. USA Federal law classifies herbs as food supplements, not drugs. In Germany by contrast there is a government agency called Commission E. They evaluate herbs every bit as painstakingly as the USA Food and Drug Administration does pharmaceuticals.

Last year, the non-profit American Botanical Council published an English translation of all 380 German Commission E monopgraphs on recommended herbs. This covers chemical components, suggested doses and side effects. Some herbs are not recommended after lengthy field trials. There is now a commercial web site with this stuff on-line, but you can get a ten day free pass to peruse the stuff. After that you have to pay for access. The web site is at:

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