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Feb 2, 2015

Grant Signed for Cotton Industry in Belize

There were numerous agreements signed in the past few days. The Government of Japan signed on to two grants for the agricultural and education sectors. A total of two hundred and five thousand one hundred and fifteen dollars were issued between both grants. One hundred and two thousand US dollars was handed over for an agricultural project in northern Belize for the improvement of the facility for the West Indian Sea Island Cotton Industry in Belize. The funds will be used to cultivate what is viewed as “valuable and costly cotton” in the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts.  Now, the cotton industry started back in 1980 when a US company invested in the project. But since 2000, a Japanese Cooperative, I.C.A. Belize, has been managing the project. The cotton is exported to Japan and Europe fetching top market prices.  I.C.A. Belize Director, Kensuke Inoue, and Japanese Consular, Hiromoto Omaya, were present for the signing and spoke of the rewarding business investment for both countries.

 

Hiromoto Omaya

Hiromoto Omaya, Consular, Embassy of Japan

“Belize is also facing issues of sustainable development especially in the agricultural sector. Through this project, we are providing a little over one hundred thousand US dollars to buy inputs to rejuvenate the Sea Island Cotton industry in Belize by providing tractors and high clearance tractors and planters. I very much hope that these inputs will help to rejuvenate and expand the production of Sea Island Cotton in Belize in order to produce more foreign currency crops and foreign currency earnings for Belize. Also the project is important for Japan as well because Japanese industry and company, they need more high quality Sea Island Cotton from Belize. Unfortunately, the supply has not been meeting the demand of those Japanese companies. So if we are successful, we are helping the sustainable development of the agricultural sector of Belize and increase the foreign currency earning crops and at the same time, it is also going to help the Japanese industry. So this project is a win-win project for both Belizean and Japanese economy.”

 

Kensuke Inoue

Kensuke Inoue, Director, I.C.A. Belize

“Cotton Farming needs different types of machinery than sugar cane farming. This is the reason that Japanese Embassy provides machinery that fit cotton farming. Cotton crop yield are much higher than any other agricultural product in Belize including sugar cane. I.C.A. Belize invite local farmers and introduce cotton farming since last year according to the plan or discussion between my business partner in Japan and Japanese Embassy and now six local farmers from Buena Vista, Little Belize, shipyard and Bomba join this cotton farming project. I already received over a thousand pounds of the dry cotton and in this year’s project; I’m seeking to receive more than thirty thousand pounds of dry cotton in the next few months. That is one hundred and sixty thousand dollars. I see Belize will aim to be a leading producer of cotton together with local cotton farmers by acquiring new equipment from Japanese Embassy.”

 

The cultivation of the West Indian Sea Island Cotton is a labor intensive since the harvest must be done manually to retain the quality of the fiber. A typical size cotton field provides jobs for approximately two hundred persons.

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