The Statistical Institute of Belize and the Belize Tourism Board’s latest statistics show that tourism was responsible for driving the economy. However, the question is how much of that money earned actually stays in the country? Research has shown that for each dollar that tourists spend in the Caribbean, at least 60% of it goes out of the country to import food and beverages that are provided for the tourists. Experts are looking to strengthen the linkages between agriculture and tourism at the Caribbean Food Crops Society’s annual general meeting which is being held in Belize City. This method is already working well in some countries like El Salvador. One of today’s presenters, Andres Baiza, the General Manager of Acceso Oferta, told Love News that utilizing this method is able to keep more of their local dollars at home.
Andres Baiza – the General Manager of Acceso Oferta: Voice 1: “Basically the demand driven. We know what the buyers or the clients will want and that information we get it and we translate it to our producers so they know what they have to produce, what quality, what type of products, how much and that is the strategy that we use; demand driven production. One of the biggest supermarkets in El Salvador before was importing 90% of their products from neighboring countries, right now they’re importing about 5-7% percent products. So what happens is that most of the money is staying in El Salvador, before they were buying from other countries so now the money is staying here more than $100 million dollars.”
At the conference, the Ministry of Agriculture launched the Belize Agriculture Information Management System and the National Agriculture Census. Love News spoke with Milagro Matus, Policy Analyst at the Ministry of Agriculture about the National Agriculture Census, which will help with the implementation of agrotourism.
Milagro Matus – Policy Analyst: “The intention is to register all farmers farms and to get the GPS locations of the farms and to find out all their farming activities.”
Reporter: Okay so what do you hope to gain from something like this ?
Milagro Matus – Policy Analyst:“Well the information on the farm in particular we are intending to be able to support hte farmers at the end of the day. Basically stores all the farmer and farm and production data on farmers. The price application system then collects the price for the commodities and then the virtual marketing platform is parallel to the system that collects all this data. The virtual marketing platform then just basically displays the production data of the farmer and links it to somebody who is intended in purchasing that product.”
The National Agriculture Census will commence from August 4 to June 14, 2019.