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Mar 25, 2021

Asian Bean Thrip Pest Threatens Million Dollar Agricultural Industry

A thrip pest threatens Belize’s grain industry which includes black and red beans, white and yellow corn, soy bean, black eye peas, rice and sorghum.  It is the first time that the Asian bean thrip has been detected in the Belize and the second report for the Americas since March of last year. The pest was first noticed by farmers in northern Orange Walk in early February who reported heavy infestation. Investigations later found that the tiny sucking insects have been affecting red kidney beans, black-eye peas and some leguminous crops. Luckily, ninety percent of the bean crop for this year escaped the brunt of the infestation.  The importance of these proteins is two-fold; they provide food security, but also foreign exchange because they are exported regionally and internationally. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise held a press conference today to provide update on the potentially alarming situation.


Francisco Gutierrez

Francisco Gutierrez, Acting Managing Director, BAHA

“This pest is distributed throughout the country; however, the northern part of the country seems to be more affected. Little less so the western part of the country and in declining order as far as Toledo. The main host of this pest includes beans of all varieties inclusive red kidney beans, black beans, pinto, etc. it also affects black-eye peas quite severely, but it is known to affect leguminous crops such as soy beans, pigeon bean lima bean and even peanuts. We have found them in soy bean and peanuts as well in Belize.”


Jose Novelo

Jose Novelo, Director, Grain Program Coordinator, Ministry of Agriculture

“Having ran into problems with the availability of RK beans towards the ending of 2020, we thought that we needed to get more information on what was being produced and the crops that were affected. What we discovered is that the damage was primarily in black eye peas. Black-eyed peas are normally exported to CARICOM and other countries in the world. We as a country do not utilize too much black-eyed peas. So that was a relief, however, I can state that beans are important for Belize. About six thousand acres in production and the damage was between forty-five to fifty percent. The estimated value of that six thousand crop was about eight point four million dollars. So you can do the math and determine the level of losses that were incurred in the black-eyed peas primarily in Corozal, orange Walk and Cayo.”

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