© 2017 by Global Village Institute. Design by Albert Bates Omnimedia

  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Google+ Icon
  • Grey Instagram Icon

Appropriate Technology Cooperatives

Microenterprise Hubs and Circular Economies

A system that places monetary value on products and services but places little value on their source is not sustainable. What we need to build is what Charles Eisenstein calls a "sacred economy." There is no such thing as waste, and that applies to the human realm as much as to the rest of nature.

To date, the discourse surrounding responses to climate change has been largely negative. Focusing primarily on the scale of the problem and the severity of its consequences, the language employed in the debate has often been alienating, effectively producing a general sense of apathy and disempowerment. Instead, let us reframe the debate from problems to potential, and the solutions that flow from potential. And then let us unleash the creative power of humans armed with knowledge and inspired to do good.

 

Of course, changing outlook from pessimistic to optimistic does not make it so. We humans are nasty pieces of work. Why are there no more mastodons, Atlantic gray whales or dodos? How is it that although there were many hominid species roving Earth at one time, ours became the only one, and by what means? What are we doing to the whole of our co-evolved biodiversity as you read these words? What part of that sorry picture is genetically hard-wired, and what part is merely cultural?

From a social perspective, it is necessary to develop capabilities to use effective frameworks and processes to align desire 
and action. As practical matter that means that the world economic paradigm has to shift from resource extraction and exploitation to exhaustion (both material and human) to increasing biological capacity as the driver for economic and social satisfaction of needs.

 

Only increased photosynthesis is going to rebalance the carbon cycle at this point, but it can’t be a cookie-cutter approach.

 

As things stand, behaviors that increases energy consumption, extraction, production, consumption, pollution, and degradation are generally rewarded. Such activities are promoted as the basis of wealth creation, yet this is demonstrably false. Earth’s natural resources and processes are the source from which all financial capital is derived. It’s impossible for derivatives to be more valuable than their source. A system that places monetary value on products and services but places little value on their source is not sustainable, and it is necessary for humanity to redefine its relationship with the natural world accordingly. Education, information dissemination, and appropriate policy and economic incentive structures are critical in shifting individual behaviors and social ideals, to properly value natural wealth.

 

Appropriate finance means developing approaches that are not only effective at reducing atmospheric carbon, but also generate a realistic return on investment measured by the full range of returns, social, ecological and financial.

By analyzing the role of the different forms of capital (material, human, social, manufactured and financial), it is easy see how a capitalist system would develop an unsustainable bias towards placing manufactured capital on a pedestal. By conceptualizing manufactured goods as an endpoint, solely from a consumerist perspective, the creation of “wealth” can be simplistically reduced to profit from efficient exploitation without regard to externalities, such as planetary or social health. This has the undesirable effect of limiting the regenerative potential of human activity. By reconceptualizing to circular economics and biomimetic thinking, manufactured capital comes to depend on regenerative practices.

 

There is one trend afoot that few have seemed to notice. In the two-thirds world trade and commerce have always been dominated by nimble opportunists who see niches, swoop in and exploit them, and move on when the niche is no longer productive. This independent spirit runs against the grain of wage slavery and so harsh sanctions like the withholding of health care and the destruction of public education have been used like cudgels to beat “employees” back into their roles as cogs in the machine. So it was that Columbus destroyed the unsuited-as-slaves Taino and Arawak, or Francisco de Toledo instituted the mita system to compel Quechua and Yanacona encomienda in the silver mines of Potosí.

 

Today, the educated youth force of the world has undergone an evolutionary shift from encomiendista to entrepreneur. They want to be free agents, not cubicle rats. That instinct-shift provides enough fuel to ignite a revolution.

Reversing Climate Change with Community-led Enterprises

 

In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) advised that stabilizing temperature at around 1.5°C is feasible, the cost would be affordable, and that achieving it brings many other substantial benefits for the economy, ecosystems and human well-being. [IPCC 2018] The cost of weak action, in contrast, would push the planet over 3°C warmer this century – which is the current trajectory. This will be catastrophic for many societies, and most specifically to the region of concern in this project. The remaining budget for 1.5°C will be exceeded by 2030 at current emission rates. The window of feasibility is closing rapidly.               

The global economic benefit of a low-carbon future is estimated at US$26 trillion by 2030 compared with staying on the current high-carbon pathway. The scale of transformation – halving emissions by 2030 – is unprecedented but the speed is not. Some cities and companies can and have transformed significantly faster. [Rockström 2017] Developed nations with significant historic emissions have the responsibility to reduce emissions faster and possess greater financial and technical capacity to do so, but greater benefits may actually accrue to developing nations because this historic shift towards decarbonization will provide entire new industries and opportunities that the developing world is uniquely suited to embark upon. So, for instance, countries in the Caribbean Basin, which lie closer to the equator, have a greater rate of afforestation and reforestation and a greater net photosynthetic productivity than do nations in more temperate zones farther from the Equator. Net photosynthetic productivity will be the foundational asset of the new carbon economy of the next century.

 

The Kyoto Protocol, adopted in 1997, regulates trading of pollution rights (certified emissions reductions— “CER”). If it were just a matter of reducing GHG emissions to a critical level, an increasingly stringent emissions allowance scheme could have reduced emissions sufficiently to mitigate the worst projections for global warming. However, emission reductions alone were insufficient. Although most of the emitted CO2 is naturally re-integrated into the terrestrial system in the first decades to centuries (mainly in biomass and oceans), 20 to 40% of CO2 remains in the atmosphere for many millennia. [Archer 2009] Thus, unless the CO2 is actively withdrawn from the atmosphere and prevented from returning, it will lead to continued global warming, even if all nations succeed in completely phasing out fossil fuels through emissions trading.

 

Proactive removal of CO2 from the atmosphere is referred to as negative emission (NE) or carbon dioxide removal (CDR). Carbon extracted from the atmosphere, whether by mechanical means or photosynthesis, must then be fixed within the terrestrial and aquatic systems and stored for as long as possible. Absent this storage step, carbon will merely cycle back to the atmosphere in the natural course of time. Most efforts in afforestation and reforestation, and climate-smart agriculture, are ultimately only carbon neutral.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It cannot be overstated how significant will be the change of industrial paradigms in the coming decades. Humanity must change from extracting fossil carbon and burning it, thereby elevating carbon in atmosphere and ocean, to removing carbon, not just to offset present emissions but to withdraw legacy emissions of past centuries. The first paradigm—extraction and combustion— was assisted by the strong economic incentive of the derived energy. The second will be far more challenging, unless similarly strong incentives can be developed. We believe that the Sustainable Development Goals can provide those incentives. The project we propose is a demonstration of that principle in action.

 

The Paris Agreement (Art. 4.2) requires all participating nations to prepare, communicate and maintain progress reports for their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) towards the reduction of their GHG emissions. Based on the countries' current NDCs, global greenhouse gas emissions will not be reduced by 2030. [Boyd 2015] Following these pledges’ roadmap, global GHG emissions would range from 47 to 63 Gt CO2e per year by 2030, up from the present level of 37.9 Gt CO2e per year. [Grassi 2018]

 

Many parts of Belize’s NDC would be directly complemented by the contemplated project. So, for instance, the microenterprise hub and biorefinery will also provide for sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest stocks while supplying the missing component of quantified and verifiable measurement of GHG sequestration. The project will facilitate waste segregation, storage, collection, minimization, re-use and recovery at the San Pedro Columbia landfill and will aid in quantifying the reduction of greenhouse gases from that effort. The project will increase the share of renewable energy in Belize’s electricity mix and expand access to electricity, clean fuels, water and sanitation for households in San Pedro Columbia.

 

Sixty percent or more of the population of the Toledo District of Belize is Mopan or Kekchi Maya. 

 

Currently, sixteen Maya communities, representing 51 percent of the Toledo Maya population, reside within reservations. At least twenty villages lie outside reservation boundaries. The Maya do not have legal rights even to the land within the reservations. The lack of legal land tenure is a factor in the marginalization of these communities. 

 

Deforestation-aggravated drought in the Peten-Guatemala has exacerbated the situation. Disasters triggered by climate change are responsible for some 150,000 deaths every year and cause millions of people to seek refuge elsewhere. The IPCC predicts 150 million environmental refugees by 2050. Over half of the 19.5 million refugees and 38 million Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) around the world reside in cities or informal settlements. Few opportunities for self-reliance are provided to those displaced in camps with limited support by national programs for sustainable development.

 

Nearly all Maya oscillate between cash and subsistence economies, however many productive activities are dependent on resources to which they have no Government-sanctioned rights. Lack of control over productive assets contributes to poverty among the Toledo Maya. According to Government economic assessments, the Maya represent the poorest sector of the national population. This is more pronounced among the Maya of the Toledo District with 65.8 percent labeled as “poor;” 30.4 percent of that category is also designated as “extremely poor,” existing on resources sufficient only for basic subsistence. Consequently, the incidence of poverty among the Maya is twice the national average.

 

PROGRAM

 

Even if the global community succeeds in its ambitious Paris Agreement goal to achieve carbon emissions neutrality by 2050, humanity would still need to extract roughly 800 Gt (gigatonnes or billion metric tonnes) of CO2 from the atmosphere before 2100 in order to hold warming to within survivable bounds. [Rogelj 2015, 2019] Should the global community of nations fail to act quickly, the additional 700 to 2500 Gt CO2e expected to be added to the atmosphere by the end of this century would also need to be withdrawn. [IPCC, 2013:  trajectory models RCP 2.6 and RCP 4.5].

 

Terrestrial carbon storage encompasses all biomasses (such as fields, gardens, lawns and forests); materials (such as buildings, roads, and furniture); soils; and underground deposits. Aquatic carbon storage encompasses all surface and subsurface waters and sediments (dissolved, suspended or carbon stored in organic and inorganic sediments). All terrestrial and aquatic carbon reservoirs are natural carbon sinks that, in total, contain several times more carbon than the atmosphere. [Schimel 1995] Untapped capacity to store carbon exceeds by far the current storage (i.e. the soil can hold more organic carbon; the sediments can hold more carbonates; the land can carry more trees) and, thus, we have the potential to increase the terrestrial and aquatic carbon sinks by anthropogenic means. The difficulty is finding the means to pay for it.

 

Our village-scale biorefinery and microenterprise hub will demonstrate a potential model for this process that could be replicated more broadly in the Caribbean community and beyond. We would divert biomass and plastic wastes and to anaerobic digestion, pyrolysis, and volatilization to produce energy and commercial products. After capitalization of the facility and a five-year support period, the village cooperative we propose would reach commercial sustainability as a local enterprise. 

 

It is generally assumed that an internationally recognized system for the assessment, certification and trading of carbon sinks will emerge in the next decade. A number of national exchanges are already operating and prices have been gradually rising. The expected annual market volume in 2020 has been estimated to be from  $US220 and 700 billion, although some sources suggest it could be substantially higher as rapid onset climate change will drive this market.

 

The largest anthropogenic carbon sinks that can theoretically be deployed today include:

·             Build-up of organic carbon in soils;

·             Re- and afforestation;

·             Organic construction and industrial materials (e.g. bridges and roads with biochar-based concrete and asphalt; wooden houses; organic and pyrogenic insulation materials; textiles from biological raw materials such as silk, hemp, flax, cotton; pipelines made from organic resins and biochar-based composites); etc.

·             Urban biochar for water cleaning, sludge composting, urban forest, roads and sidewalks;

·             Geological storage of original, gaseous, or pyrolyzed biomass;

     Each of these methods have been scientifically studied and can be commercialized at some price per ton of CO2e. None of them are financially viable at the support levels in today’s carbon market.

 

Rather than concern ourselves with a distant carbon market, whose timing is difficult to predict, our proposal is for the economic justification of carbon withdrawal by providing goods and services derived from carbon wastes. A preliminary survey of the region indicates that there is ample woody biomass (sawdust, rice hulls, agroforestry wastes, corn milling wastes) to supply a village-scale biorefinery producing:

 

  1. 100% organic and carbon-farming-based indigenous biofertilizers, including bone char  and fermented microbial inoculants (Carbon Gold brand)

  2. Tropical tree crop production; moringa, cacao, bamboo, cassava, jackfruit, coconut, ramon nut (community cooperative)

  3. Aquaponic fish production (community cooperative)

  4. Animal production; tropical livestock approach (community cooperative)

  5. Pelletized aquaponic fish feeds and supplements (Carbon Gold brand)

  6. Pelletized animal feed and supplements (Carbon Gold brand)

  7. Renewable energy from biomass waste (100 kW-e; 500 kW-t)

  8. Carbon Sequestration by integrated multistrata agroforestry, silvopasture, and biochar production (PURO exchange, Helsinki)

 

 

PROGRAM SCALE

 

The scale definition of this project awaits prototyping trials and feasibility studies. It is expected the feedstock generation scale should reach 100-500 hectares with test and contract farms of 1 to 50 hectares each, producing a waste tonnage of suitable feedstocks between 4000 to 30000 dry tons per year and annual revenues to the village cooperative of 400,000 - 3 million Bz$. Required facilities include:

 

A 20.000 m2 biorefinery and biomass processing facility

·    Handling, drying and pelletizing of waste biomass

·    Production and conditioning of biochar

·    Blending and packaging of biofertilizers (Carbon Gold brand)

·    Value-added smallholder food processing and packaging kitchen; e.g.: turmeric, coconut oil, etc.  (community cooperative)

·    Animal and aquaponic feeds and supplements production, storage and packaging (Carbon Gold brand)

·    Distillate wood vinegar and bio-oil production, storage and packaging (Carbon Gold brand)

·    Production, storage and packaging of microbial inoculants (Carbon Gold brand)

·    Energy generation (community cooperative)

·    Shipping of products

·    Instrumentation and monitoring

 

A 40-hectare test farm (Maya Mountain Research Farm)

·    Agroforestry and silvopasture management areas

·    Small ag equipment and service barn

·    Animal sheds

·    Office

 

Education facilities and equipment (Maya Mountain Research Farm)

·    Biofuel shuttle van for airport to biorefinery

·    Small auditorium building (can double as a community meeting center and theater)

·    Audiovisual equipment and services for auditorium

·    Visual displays and printed materials

·    Office

 

The lead actor is Maya Mountain Research Farm (MMRF), a non-governmental educational and scientific organization founded in Belize nearly 40 years ago. MMRF has never received or managed funding of this magnitude before. To obtain the necessary experience and capacity for a project of this type and scale, the Executing Entities have enlisted these implementing partners:

 

Carbon Gold Ltd. (UK): production, sales and distribution of biofertilizers and related products

CO2OL Design SA (Dominican Republic): carbon drawdown biorefinery design and operation

Gaia University (USA): concept and project management design, monitoring and reporting

Global Village Institute for Appropriate Technology (USA): concept and project management design

Global Ecovillage Network (UK): social and environmental auditing

Husk Ventures SL (Spain & Cambodia): crop-wastes to biochar, production, distribution, marketing, training

Plenty Belize (Belize): Integrated development and renewable energy

San Pedro Columbia Village Council (Belize): to ensure cultural integrity, transparency, and evaluation

Toledo Alcaldes Association (Belize): concept and project management review and dissemination.

 

These organizations in concert will provide more than 50 years of experience in integrated whole systems design — present in a highly capable international team — to the creation of multiple replicable examples of regenerative management of Socio-Ecological-Systems at the local and regional scale. The project aims to directly affect the lives of several thousand people, while creating models capable of rapid spreading (rather than scaling) to a globally transformative response to the climate crisis. It will rebuild water and food security, while restoring carbon, nitrogen, and nutrient cycles, through a systemic integration of circular economies, bioregional production for bioregional consumption,and the  regeneration of local bio-productivity of forests, food, and bio-materials. The aim is to turn the vicious cycle of exploitation of people and resources driven by a mistaken aim for 'competitive advantage' into a virtuous cycle of regeneration of healthy ecosystems functions and community cohesion and resilience, generating 'collaborative abundance.' Tools include agroforestry, aquaculture, holistic management, keyline design, renewable energy, activated biochar and bio-economics. Delivery vehicles include green schools and action learning for all generating local eco-social entrepreneurship in agricultural, fishing and production cooperatives; ecovillages; and bio-refineries as the basis for creating a regenerative material culture beyond fossil resource and energy use. Tested processes will help local people generate innovative solutions elegantly adapted to the bio-cultural uniqueness of place. This project is a whole systems approach to generating transformative innovation and regenerative solutions in the face of unprecedented challenges and opportunities.

 

The program will be self-funded once the initial support period has expired. The program is designed to be self-sustaining into the indefinite future.

 

OBJECTIVES

 

Cultural movements generally proceed in stages from earliest ideation through tentative experiments to adoption by wider segments of the population and eventual normalization. The word “ecovillage” first entered the English lexicon in the 1970s [Ramsey 1979] and in German and other languages in the following decade. The concept was straightforward: human culture is approaching a turning point in history, driven by converging factors that were hampering the ability of Earth’s self-regenerating systems to sustain a human population at this attained level of affluence and technology; a condition characterized in ecology as overshoot, a temporary state followed by decline in systemic health and carrying capacity. “Ecovillages” were a conceptualized response to this condition—a shift in global culture away from the unsustainable practices leading to overshoot and towards a suite of tools upon which a more resilient and regenerative culture could be founded.

 

While the ecovillage concept is not new — ideal society literature extends back at least as far as Plato’s Republic and Alquinus’ Utopia — the experimental communities launched at the end of the 20th century were different. They were digitally networked, often architecturally and technologically sophisticated, and informed by social innovations from the environmental, peace and intentional communities movements. They were designed to a triad of social, economical and environmental sustainability. They eventually developed compatible iterations such as eco-districts, eco-regions, and eco-zones that extended the ecological village planning concept to larger geographic areas overseen by memoranda of understanding with local and national governments. It should come as no surprise that because of their many advantages and popular appeal, these late 20th century prototypes enjoyed a high rate of success and endurance, both as individual small communities and as a larger social movement.

 

      Coinciding with the emergence of this social movement is the fin-de-siecle moment of global ecological overshoot already in motion. Now, in the first half of the 21st century, we have entered upon a time of consequences, primary the climate emergency. [Bates 2015]  The role of Gaia University and the Global Ecovillage Network in this project will be to facilitate full participation of the local population in the project planning and management process. There has already been, from the outset, transparent engagement with affected communities and stakeholders. This includes communications and grievance mechanisms, opinion surveys and town meetings to reach a generalized consensus on best direction. With funding, the end-result will be the organizational structure of a community cooperative that will operate the biorefinery and the artisanal enterprises that spring from it.

 

Through our compliance with the Green Climate Fund’s environmental and social safeguards, (GCF/B.07/11), and the LandScale assessment framework, and by using a community cooperative structure, we anticipate improved labor and environmental conditions for the indigenous population we serve, including:   

       
(a)  Fair treatment, non-discrimination, equal opportunity;
(b)  Good worker–management relationships;

(c)  Compliance with national employment and labor laws;

(d)  Worker protection and compensation, particularly those in the most vulnerable and accident-prone categories;
(e)  Provision of safety and health for the entire village;

(f)  Elimination of gender and handicap discrimination, forced labor and child labor;


(g) More sustainable use of resources, including energy and water;

(h) Pollution abatement;
(i)  Reduced and reversed greenhouse gas emissions.
                   

The project also intends to avoid or minimize adverse social and economic impacts from land acquisition or restrictions on land use; to conserve biodiversity and sustainable management of living natural resources; maintain benefits from ecosystem services;
 promote sustainable management of living natural resources; and Integrate conservation needs with development priorities.

               

ENGAGEMENT

 

Beginning in 2016, MMRF Director Christopher Nesbitt began meeting with village elders and the elected council of San Pedro Columbia. This is a traditional Maya village in the Southwestern mountains of the Toledo District, located about two miles from the ancient Maya ruins of Lubaantun. In 2000 San Pedro Columbia had a population of about 700 mostly Kekchi Maya with some Mopan Maya, although it has grown considerably in the past 20 years. Today it is Belize's largest settlement of Kekchi, many coming from the Petén region of Guatemala. Rapid population expansion has largely cleared the upper Rio Grande of fish, and cash crops of maize and vegetables have eroded traditional reliance on agroforestry and resulted in forest destruction and soil degradation. 

 

A significant part of the solution we propose is not only to permanently sequester soil carbon, but to recover the value of rotational agroforestry, restore the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium cycles, enhance nutrient density, rebuild lowland topsoil, condition agricultural lands to withstand flooding and drought, and to do all that while generating a profit for the village cooperative. Within this model are the seeds of a new, circular economy in which energy, natural resources, and human resources enter a virtuous cycle of improvement. It is robust, resilient and antifragile.

 

Fully developed, the solution would net sequester megatons of carbon annually.

 

We have observed from our locally organized interactions of the past three years that our greatest challenge will be social cohesion and training. For that reason, we have enlisted support from partners with appropriate expertise in relevant areas. Our solution is directed at providing attractive demonstrations and then scaling very quickly while operating in a manner consistent with preserving and enhancing indigenous culture and biodiversity, supplying the unique needs of the community, and meeting sustainable development goals from business profits. 

 

We intend to recycle the seed microenterprise hub fund by tithing profits on individual projects that receive seed funding through the program.

 

REPLICABILITY

 

As the saying goes, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” We intend to employ the LandScale assessment framework, co-developed by the Rainforest Alliance, Commonland, Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance, and others, which provides a standardized approach for assessing and communicating sustainability status and trends. LandScale includes indicators and performance metrics to measure progress towards sustainability goals for ecosystems, human well-being, governance, and production. The results of LandScale assessments can be verified and made available on the LandScale online platform to promote credible communication of landscape sustainability performance. This will help create incentives and rewards for performance improvements. The results of LandScale assessments can also help commodity buyers and investors to make informed decisions for sustainable business and carbon credit certification.

 

We propose a global shift in the atmospheric impact of human ecosystems. Our strategy involves carbon farming, constructing biorefineries and local enterprises that provide food, energy, clean water, and sustainable local commodities, all serving to move Belize and the world beyond carbon neutrality to annual net sequestration. This tactic is neither impracticable nor unprecedented but employs and explores novel tools and combinations that may accelerate the transition to a circular carbon economy that obtains the Sustainable Development Goals.

     

The science underpinning the proposed solution is uncontroversial. According to the FAO, “Agricultural soils are among the planet's largest reservoirs of carbon and hold potential for expanded carbon sequestration and thus provide a prospective way of mitigating the increasing atmospheric concentration of CO2.”

 

Active listening, integration of the sustainable development goals, cultural preservation and visible improvements to the lives of the adopters sustain the pace of change. Still, local cooperatives of tree-planters, herdsmen and soilbuilders, no matter how financially sound, will not by themselves reverse climate change. To achieve annual net sequestration globally, there must also be rapid reductions in GHG emissions across all sectors.

 

The exit strategy for this program is to move the young enterprises to self-sustaining and profitable mature enterprises. For the community cooperative microenterprise hub itself, there is no exit strategy, rather we intend to recycle the funding by tithing profits on individual projects that received startup funding through the program and apply that to seed new projects and to continue to improve the sustainable development of the region. 

 

The complexity and social elements of our proposal require a multi-level nested evaluation process to look at results and ramifications on local, regional and global scales. We will develop easily visualized quantitative and qualitative assessments for:

 

  •    carbon sequestration,

  •    soil productivity,  

  •    acres reforested

  •    agricultural yields

  •    energy efficiencies

  •    effect on local economy

  •    impact on local culture

  •    education efficacy, and

  •    social happiness.

 

Recognizing the unique character, resources and human capabilities of each seed project, feedback from residents, their support teams and the broader community are essential. These are gained by appreciative inquiry, ripple-effects mapping and tools like the Sarvodaya human happiness scale.

 

From carbon tracking, annual audits of ecosystem services, measures of biodiversity, conventional well-being and happiness of the local population, and whole-systems metrics of production and cash flow, a full picture of status and progress emerges. Results can be compared to the vision, program goals, and capacity of each project.

 

Accomplishments and shortfalls will be dissected by our interdisciplinary team (including village representatives). Lessons learned will inform adjustments for improvement within and across the network. Social media cross-pollinates solutions as Seeds learn from Sprouts and Sprouts learn from flourishing villages. 

 

The ability of each village to feed resources (cash and skills) back into the project will be tracked. It is their contributions that will allow the cultivation of more Seeds — new or transitioning traditional communities — to capture carbon through biomimesis while enhancing quality of life for all.

 

FINANCIAL PROJECTIONS

 

While this work has already been the subject of an ongoing pilot project, going to scale rapidly will involve new unknowns.

Establishing the program requires office space, equipment and staff for the Central Management Board. Personnel and overhead costs will be associated with that.

 

The Council of Advisors, tasked with development of our protocols for agronomics, educational services, performance standards, etc., will also require a support staff and payroll.

 

We envision the business intake process functioning like this: the program solicits candidates or a landowner, local government or regional planner contacts us. We interview and research each candidate’s situation. This may require travel. If they are acceptable as a “Seed,” a threshold question is whether there is yet a program “Hub” established in their region. If not, we’ll need to establish that, possibly with the first Seed serving as Hub. Once approved, assistance —both technical and financial — is supplied.

 

We have estimated, based on prior experience, that the cost per “Sprout” microenterprise over its initial 5 years is $800,000. Aid is tailored  to raise local manufacturing and eco-agronomic capacity adequately for the Sprout to mature to profitability, at which point it becomes contractually bound to contribute to the revolving program fund. Establishing a satellite hub in a neighboring village would follow similar process.

 

Integral to the entire program is monitoring, evaluation, reporting and reviews. This will require site inspections and interviews, again involving personnel and travel.

 

Finally, managing large sums of money requires special expertise. We will contract for legal, accounting, financial management and other professional assistance.

 

TOTAL PROJECTED IMPLEMENTATION COSTS

 

We have estimated the total cost to implement the solution within the specified duration for our timeline and key milestones. This includes capital expenditures; operational expenditures; and monitoring, evaluation, and educational expenditures. In our experience, monitoring, learning, and evaluation costs will run 5-15% of the total projected costs. Detailed budgets are still undergoing development.

 

TOTAL

USD$ 15,000,000.00

 

For more information please contact us at:

 

Maya Mountain Research Farm 

Attn: Christopher Nesbitt, Director

christopher.nesbitt@mmrfbz.org

PO 153 Punta Gorda Town

Toledo District Belize

www.mmrfbz.org

+501 630-4386