Bananas, citrus and sugar; safe economic bet
Despite the economic downturn, the Prime Minister says that the bananas and citrus industries are both doing well, but the crown jewels in the industry would be the sale of the Belize Sugar Industries Factory to American Sugar Refineries. B.S.I. was struggling to keep operational and a successful crop season translates into additional bonus payments for farmers.
“In terms of the main stays of the company, the position can be stated quite shortly. All things considered, we are doing remarkably well. Tourism continues to have a great rebound and the minister informs me that he expects as much as a ten percent growth increase this year over last year. There is also wonderful news in sugar. Last week the crop ended with a most impressive numbers in recent memory: over one million tons of cane delivered and over one hundred tons of sugar milled. There is a fifteen percent earnings increase over last crop and the bonus to the cane farmers themselves will be in the region of thirty million dollars. I say of course; hooray for the farmers, hooray for the factory, hooray for the industry; hooray also for the government which both put in the money that was needed to avoid collapse and brokered the deal that led to the efficiencies and the increase sugar production. There is as well the additional bit of good news that the American Sugar Refiners Group proposes to become the new strategic investor in the Belize sugar industry. This is a proposal that is expected to come to full fruition as early as the end of this month. Bananas are also doing very much better than could have been imagined with improved yields and a new increased pricing arrangement with the marketers. It is the same type of story with Citrus and at least in one instance we have seen the glimmerings of what we hope will be a new cooperation between the Citrus Growers Association and C.P.B.L. (Citrus Products of Belize Limited) In Aquaculture, the Bowen Shrimp farm is back on track with a new investment partner. And in talking about new investments, I should also mention that a Letter of Intent has been signed by the Sovereign Investment Fund of Qatar to buy Caye Chapel and turn it into a four seasons branded resort.”
The prime minister also announced that the new Director of Communications is Adalbert Tucker, the ambassador of trade who was previously with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.