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Jun 15, 2016

Is the Agriculture Industry on the Rebound?

Tracy Panton

The IMF Report also points to the increase in imports and a decline of exports from Belize. According to the report, “The current account deficit widened to nine point eight percent of GDP as exports fell by nine percent and imports continued to grow, partly due to investment projects.” The blows to the agriculture sector include: the crippling of the banana industry after Fyffes ended ties with Meridian Enterprises in the south as well as the ongoing crisis of the shrimp industry and the shutdown of the Fruta Bomba in the north. But the Minister of State is optimistic that the industries will recover.

 

Tracy Panton, Minister of State, Trade and Commerce

“Well I think that is well on its way to recovery. Yes, there has been a decline in exports and that’s primarily due to the agricultural sector. You know we had a disease affecting our shrimp farms; we had a challenge with the banana farms, with the papaya as well. I think that we are doing everything that we can in terms of attracting the right investors and partners to Belize to ensure that we can keep these—agriculture is cyclical almost—and that we will be able to rebound particularly in the agricultural sector. I know the shrimp sector is doing all it can to rebound. It takes some time; it is a eighteen-month process, but I think everything that can be done is being done and certainly there is a lot of government support—not only from ourselves, but from the  Ministry of Agriculture, from BAHA and all the relevant agencies to try and ensure that we rebound as quickly as possible.”

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