WELCOME, LEONARDO, BELIZE COUNTRY DIRECTOR!

There’s a new face around our office in Belize! Leonardo Pech has joined our operations as the Country Director for Sustainable Harvest International–Belize, and he’s off to a busy start learning about local communities and our work in Belize.

New Belize Country Director Leonardo Pech (right) confers with Roy Trapp (left), a farmer from the village of Cotton Tree, about his sweet potato and tomato seedlings. – Photo by Ernesto Pop

New Belize Country Director Leonardo Pech (right) confers with Roy Trapp (left), a farmer from the village of Cotton Tree, about his sweet potato and tomato seedlings. – Photo by Ernesto Pop

Leonardo has been particularly moved by the humility and heart he has seen in families working with us in Belize. He’s worried about the unpredictable rain and drought facing the region and the challenges these new weather patterns present to farmers. “Crops are exposed to more stress, more pests and disease. Yields are low, and that reduces the possibility of the farmers in making a decent profit with their produce,” he says.

But it isn’t all bad news from Leonardo’s point of view. “We need to provide more technical assistance to the farmers, especially regarding the transfer and adoption of new farming alternatives and environmentally-friendly management practices. Then, farmers will harvest a decent crop and a much healthier product.”

Julian Putul and his wife, Ofelia Ana Cucul, show their nutmeg and cacao nursery to Leonardo on a recent visit to the village of San Benito Poite – Photo by Candido Chun

Julian Putul and his wife, Ofelia Ana Cucul, show their nutmeg and cacao nursery to Leonardo on a recent visit to the village of San Benito Poite – Photo by Candido Chun

We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Leonardo, who brings over 20 years of experience in agriculture, much of it providing technical expertise and guidance to small-scale farmers on various capacities. Leonardo graduated from Costa Rica’s EARTH University in 1995, making him the first agronomist from his hometown (Orange Walk, Belize). An experienced professional in his field, Leonardo has developed a reputation as a compassionate, persistent, and flexible leader.

As the Country Director for the Belize program, Leonardo oversees daily administrative management, supervision, and strategic planning. From time to time, he’s also called upon to sit in on front porch musical performances.

Terence Anthony Sutherland farms with Sustainable Harvest International in the village of More Tomorrow in the Cayo District of Belize, where he’s known to locals as “Johnny Cash.” He was more than happy to give Leonardo a welcoming serenade! – Photo by Candido Chun

Terence Anthony Sutherland farms with Sustainable Harvest International in the village of More Tomorrow in the Cayo District of Belize, where he’s known to locals as “Johnny Cash.” He was more than happy to give Leonardo a welcoming serenade! – Photo by Candido Chun

As we expand our work into new areas in Belize, Leonardo looks forward to empowering farmers to improve their livelihoods and providing education and support on healthy growing techniques. Welcome to the Sustainable Harvest International team, Leonardo! We’re so pleased to have you!

Leonardo surveys a cornfield with Field Program Director Elliott Powell and Field Technician Ernesto Pop. The new country director for our Belize program is pointing out damages caused by agrochemicals. – Photo by Candido Chun

Leonardo surveys a cornfield with Field Program Director Elliott Powell and Field Technician Ernesto Pop. The new country director for our Belize program is pointing out damages caused by agrochemicals. – Photo by Candido Chun