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Oct 21, 2021

The Economic Value of Land

The economic value of land, particularly in the context of the sale of prime properties in coastal communities such as Hopkins and Seine Bight, was also part of the panel discussion.  Dr. Philip Castillo, a development economist, weighed in on the issue from the perspective of the National Garifuna Council assisting elder land owners, those who are interested in selling their properties, to fetch premium prices for their properties. 

 

Dr. Philip Castillo

Dr. Philip Castillo, Development Economist

“In instances where Garifuna people own land in these villages but the people are extremely poor, now I am saying that perhaps what could happen, what could happen is that suppose those persons are assisted, if they really want to sell their land, and live their final days in a dignified way, if NGC could assist them in getting the best possible value for their land. Then having sold the land, there may be other area in the village where if we now focus on construction of not single buildings, but at least two storey buildings, because if you build a two storey or a three storey building, well you obviously will have to spend a bit more because the foundation will be stronger, but the result of building a two-storey or a three storey building is that more people could live on the same plot of land. It’s important to note that land is a finite asset. The country or no country has an unlimited amount of land, especially now. Thirty-eight percent of Belize is considered arable, meaning that’s that suitable for farming.  So if you focus on that, if you exclude that thirty-eight percent which should be used for farming because at the end of the day, Belize is an agricultural country. So we have thirty-eight percent that’s arable. We have a substantially large percent that’s under some kind of protected status and then we also know that a certain percentage of Belizean land is currently being affected by climate change. If you focus on the Monkey River area, where the sea is taking over substantial areas of what was previously land, some Cuban experts were in Dangriga and Hopkins recently, looking at, again, beach erosion. So certainly that hasn’t been factored into the size of Belize, but it is a reality that obviously the country would be getting smaller if climate change keeps on affecting the country and eroding what was our coastal areas.”


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