Posted Tuesday, January 18, 2022. 6:56 PM CST
Photo credit: Naledo.com
By Rubn Morales Iglesias:
The idea to create a new product using underutilized and high-quality turmeric root was conceived in 2016. Naledo Belize Ltd.Protecting the environment is a priority for the company.
It is important that Belize is one of those outstanding nations that cares about the environment and its people, said Umeeda Swaitlo, CEO of Naledo Belize Ltd.
Switlo stated that Naledos main product Truly Turmeric paste, which is made of turmeric, coconut oil black pepper, and lime, can be used for many purposes.
It can be used in cooking. These are all great for your health. It seems that a teaspoon of Truly Turmeric can really improve your health. I made bread yesterday. Switlo stated that Canadians put it in pastries, cakes, and other baked goods.
Naledo had ten products that were sold in Belize, and six of them are exported.
The company, which exports its turmeric products to Canada and the United States, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, has won Food Matters Lives, Best New Food of the Year in 2020 in the UK. It employs 300 Belizean farmers and has invested over BZ $2.5 Million into the local economy.
We ask our growers for ten trees for every thousand pounds we purchase. Switlo explained that this means there are more than 45,000 kg of carbon dioxide stored. This policy has resulted in the planting of over 900 trees.
Switlo says that Allison Chadwick, a University of British Columbia student, evaluated Naledos impact in 2019 as part of her Master’s degree thesis on Agroforestry.
Their work taught them how to continue monitoring and evaluating the impact they had on Toledo.
She stated that the turmeric is not irrigated and that herbicides are not used.
Because they are wild-grown, they don’t need irrigation. It is not a monoculture. It’s very diverse. It has trees, it’s got coffee, it’s got cacao, it’s got many things, and turmeric is growing there, she said.
This method of growing wild turmeric has saved over 1.6 Million gallons of water. It also converts turmeric to a more climate-resilient crop.
Our growers are prohibited from using herbicides or pesticides when growing turmeric. This prevents over 2,900 liters worth of chemicals from entering our environment. A Naledo Belize statement said that this simple policy can have a positive impact on the environment and human health.
Naledo Belize, a registered B Corporation, stated that it employs best practices in all aspects of its operation, from not using plastic containers to paying farmers eight-times the Fair-trade price for turmeric at $1.50 a pound.
Naledo purchased turmeric from 55 women and from 106 men in 20 villages in Toledo this season. Switlo said that they purchase from around 300 small-scale farmers on a rotating basis.
We move from one village to another so that turmeric can grow again. Turmeric grows very quickly. It takes nine months to grow turmeric, but the best turmeric will take around two years. However, the value of turmeric is far greater than that of cacao. Switlo said that it has a greater net impact on the economy.
This positive impact on the community, working with a group of young people who are well-paid, and Naledo paying 100 percent of their social insurance payments, Naledo has managed more than $2.5 million Bz in local economic growth, according to the statement.
We are grateful to our 300 small-scale growers and our young, enthusiastic team for these successes. Naledo is small and proud of its positive effects. I encourage all Belizean businesses to not only measure their profit but also consider their impact on the community and the environment. Switlo concluded that Belize should be known for producing exceptional products while taking care of its environment and community.
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