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May 25, 2017

Clearing the Way for More Exports

Godwin Hulse

The Ministry of Agriculture has adopted the mantra of “Let’s Get Growing.” They are trying to revive a flagging export economy that has long been concentrated on raw material like sugar, citrus and bananas, and to a lesser extent, marine products and even petroleum. Belize has been exploring various options for markets for its products, both raw and value-added, and one of those is the Caribbean, which operates as a single market and economy, known as the CSME. At Wednesday’s certification ceremony for Caribbean Chicken in Blue Creek, Orange Walk, Minister Hulse spent some time cheerleading for Belize’s export prospects, which he says are vigorously working around the various barriers put up internationally such as food safety.

 

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture

“On the trade side, which is part of marketing, of course we are already a member and part of the CSME which gives access into the Caribbean; and that is very important because the CSME made basically one country out of all fifteen of us – I think it’s fifteen, right Jose? It made one country out of all of us and therefore you can get your product in there, you can transfer your money back, you can do all these things, you can send your people to manage, etcetera. So that is a good thing. Of course there are what you call non-tariff barriers to trade and countries like to throw those up quickly, one of them is food safety and so this brings that barrier down and that one cannot be used.”

 

The minister pointed to a five-point plan it has developed to address food safety through BAHA; marketing with the Belize Marketing Development Cooperation; extension units, data collection; and in select cases, financing through the Development Finance Corporation and Social Security Board. The D.F.C. was recently approved for a line of credit from the Caribbean Development Bank for some twenty million U.S. dollars.

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