Belize - Agricultural SectorBelize - Agricultural Sector
Agriculture and agribusiness are an integral part of Belize’s economy and continue to be the base of the productive sector, providing sources of income and livelihoods for large numbers of workers. This sector also contributes to the overall food security of the country as primarily locally grown fruit and vegetables are consumed domestically.
Agriculture and agribusiness have thrived in Belize due to adequate rainfall and a relatively stable year-round sub-tropical climate. Sugar, citrus, and banana dominate this sector. Non-traditional sectors include the production of cacao, corn, hot pepper sauces, processed jams, jellies, extracts, and pastes.
Farms in Belize generally lack irrigation systems or modern agricultural equipment, as a result efficiency and yield per acre could improve significantly if these were available. Some groups are moving toward more efficient farming methods. As these improvements spread, improvements to infrastructure to cope with higher production and exports will become necessary.
Disease prevention and natural disaster mitigation are top concerns for Belize. Both the citrus and shrimp farming industries continue to battle with disease. Because of citrus greening, the citrus industry continues to experience a decline in production while shrimp farming is expected to rebound from a bacterial disease that has stalled production since 2015.
Food packaging, preservation, and any value-added investments are needed to promote food security and enhance revenues for producers. Belize also needs a modern laboratory to test and validate the nutritional contents of processed food stuffs, fruits, vegetables, sauces, and other by-products for product labels. Currently, producers in Belize send their products to other countries in the Caribbean or in Central America to be tested for nutritional value and contents. This process drives up the cost of bringing products to market and limits the number of producers that can afford such services.
Agri-Business opportunities include the production of raw produce in the traditional agriculture, organic agriculture and aquaculture sectors; value-added agribusiness and livestock; biofuels including power generation, ethanol, and bio-diesel. Opportunities in this sector exist in agricultural machinery and equipment, modernization systems and the incorporation of sustainable technology in agricultural practices, processes and equipment e.g. improved irrigation, fertilization, organic production, as well as better disease and pest management. The sale of production of inputs also provide opportunities to US businesses as Belize’s agricultural sector depends largely on imported inputs e.g. fertilizer and packaging materials largely sourced from Central America. Agriculutre related opportunities also exist in value added investments and trade to advance packaging and preservation methods; improved production and processing processes; product marketing and branding; and storage and export handling.
Belize Ministry of Agriculture: www.agriculture.gov.bz
Belize Agricultural Health Authority: http://baha.org.bz
Belize Bureau of Standards: www.bbs.gov.bz
Belize Trade and Investment Development Service: www.belizeinvest.org.bz
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Belize Agribusiness Trade Development and Promotion