Maya Economics

 

  

Economic Activities to Further Maya Development

The Mayas of Toledo mostly depend on agriculture for their economy and growth. Industrial development is a negative notion among the Maya people. In the past the Maya people depended mostly on trading their produce with neighboring Maya communities. It was not until the latter part of the 1800's that trading changed course. People of the ethnic groups began arriving into Maya communities to purchase domestic animals such as swine and other commodities such as rice and beans.

In the late 1950s there was a tremendous change in the economic development of the Maya people. The production of paddy grains became abundant because of the introduction of the mechanized farming. Many of the Maya people could not finance such mechanized work. So they continued the traditional way of living.

A chief advantage of modern life among the Maya is the educational system. Until the beginning of the 1900s the Maya people lacked a formal educational system. At first, only a minority of the Maya people attended primary school, while the majority continued to survive on farm produce. Most Maya young people of today have attended and are still attending grade schools, but there is need for the introduction of industrial economic activities among the Maya people for a better way of life and for the educated youths to do their part.

The economic activities to develop ourseleves as Maya people need to be improved in order to improve ourselves. There is a need for a Maya market-a general Maya market where farm produce can be sold locally and beyond.

The economic activities now available for us include farming (rice, cacao, beans, corn, citrus), raising animals, self-employment in ecotourism and arts and crafts, teaching, and timber industry. Prosperity in agriculture and livestock is inhibited by lack of markets locally and abroad, and low prices. Few Maya have the education necessary to become teachers, and many people lack the experience and training to earn sufficient income in self-employment. Timber industry jobs are presently very limited and unsatisfactory because the Maya do not yet have the resources and training to develop their own sawmills, and thus must work for foreign companies who do not respect the environment or our culture.

The economic activities now available for us include farming (rice, cocoa, beans, corn, citrus), raising animals, self-employment in ecotourism and arts and crafts, teaching, and timber industry. Prosperity in agriculture and livestock is inhibited by lack of market locally and abroad, and low prices. Few Maya have the education necessary to become teachers, and many lack the experience and training to make sufficient income in self-employment. Timber industry is very limited because the Maya do not yet have the resources and training to develop their own sawmills, and thus must work for foreign companies who do not respect the environment or our culture.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  1. Creation of an agricultural board that will speak on behalf of Maya farmers; such a board would negotiate for good prices on goods and develop new markets within Belize and internationally.
  2. Establishment of a Maya high school in Toledo.
  3. Development of cooperatives, including women's groups.
  4. Development of sustainable, Indian-owned logging.
  5. Creation of a Maya Development Fund to finance new economic activities and provide funds for necessary training.
  6. Identification of ways for the Maya community to be more self-sufficient, for example to grow our own cotton for our cloths.
  7. Investigation of possibilities for the development of industry in the villages.

 
  

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