Big commercial chicken farmers are mostly Mennonites though there are some smaller Creole farmers. Big industry for size of Belize.
Commercial corn crops are two per year in tropical Belize, staggered with bean production alternately. You can grow year round here.
Belize citrus orchids and export industry for juices and concentrates.
Belize Cheeses sold in local stores and markets. Produced by immigrant Salvadoreans and Mennonite farmers.
Papaya export industry of Belize
May Agricultural Review
We get our summary ideas from local expert John Carr in the Belize Agriculture Report magazine and local newspaper articles.
MOST COMMODITIES ARE HIGHER ON THE LOCAL SCENE
Onions went into oversupply and some growers lost their shirts, due to not having a system of storing onions yet. The government will give them assistance for the next onion crop as we develop this new industry agricultural crop, using drip irrigation.
Rice is now in oversupply for the local market around 8 million pounds, up from 2 million pounds of a few years ago. The price is dropping, but the government is buying all the rice and working on an export market in El Salvador through a partial scope agreement by our Foreign Ministry. Local countries in our area neighborhood, have cheaper rice they produce. Talk indicates disatisfaction with the ability to suitably clean the rice before packaging.
This season sugar crop seems like it is going to be a good one. The sugar cane farmers are getting it together and the deliveries are being spaced out properly for the mill, while the amount of mud they were delivering with cane is now being inspected voluntarily and controlled, helping the expected season to be better than previous years. The amount of sugar to cane ratio has improved so far. Government is working on a program to improve yields on a person to person basis. The sugar cane farmers still have a lot of difficult farmers though, stuck in bad habits.
Hogs are higher priced, but with a surge in fuel costs, corn feed is also higher and not much gain is expected here in prices.
We cannot yet export cattle legally, and this is hampering the cattle industry. The regulations are being worked on. Our local cattle prices are only half the US prices. On the bright side, local processors of value added meat products are now producing for the local market, excellent, comparable, finished, table ready processed meats. It remains to be seen how soon this will become an export deal, by the container load.
Citrus has turned from whole fruit and concentrate exports, to value added finished carton juice products. Everything is already sold in the export market, though citrus growers are arguing about their delivery prices.
Chicken industry is live and well, and comparable with any other in our geographical export region.
Milk continues to be in short supply and the cheese business in the local market is full. We have not yet progressed to export type specialty cheeses, due to lack of milk and dairy herds.
Shrimp continues at a modest level from farm production. The shrimp trawling industry has been banned, due to GREEN environmental pressures and outside sources have bought the two remaining shrimp trawlers for our small seasonal mud bottom grounds, eliminating a small $800,000 a year industry. Farm produced shrimp continue to be available though.
Egg production remains good and prices are stable and affordable.
Bananas continue to be a productive small scale export enterprise and the rejects are sold cheaply all over the nation on the local market. One of the cheapest nicest foods to be found.
Papaya are continuing to be exported. Believe there are two or three exporters and those smaller rejects are still available in all town markets at cheap reasonable prices.
Tomatoes continue to improve as to supply and variety. Central Farm vegetable expert is now working on providing local seeds, as many of the more successful seeds are coming in from abroad, genetically improved and expensive to buy in seed packages. The next step is developing local seed capability.
Spiny lobster exports have been steadily declining through lack of size catch controls by our Fisheries regulations.
Cobia seems to be doing well on a small scale and the various problems are being licked. The open water fish net industry is expected to expand modestly. This is a total foreign investment in Belize.
Fish farming of Tilapia still is working. What is lacking are research studies and experimentation in controlled tilapia acqua culture. Currently the method is by guess and by golly. We have no data to improve this tilapia industry as of yet. Tilapia do though, provide lots of fish for all the towns in the country. Whether it is a viable profitable enterprise for export fish products remains to be seen. Local investment is reluctant due to lack of scientific production data. Our bureaucracy is too small and underfunded and unable to do many of the things we need to get done, to change the dynamics for exporting.
Foreign markets are opening up. The outlook by the controlling government bureaucracies is very slowly adapting and changing. They seem to only respond to private sector led, research developments and are not leading adequately with information and speed needed to boost economic growth. Currently the private sector look upon the government departments as just another set of obstacles to be overcome.