In 2006 the European Union implemented the “Accompanying Measures for Sugar” (AMS) project, to buffer the effects of Belize’s sugar losing its preferential treatment in the European market and to increase its competitiveness after the preferential treatment came to an end. Through this project, the European Union committed 72 million euros in grants to the sugar belt. Today in a ceremony held at the Best Western Plus Biltmore Plaza, MalgorzataWasilewska, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Belize, shared some of the achievements.
Malgorzata Wasilewska – Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Belize
Malgorzata Wasilewska Head of the Delegation of the European Union Belize: I would like to underline some of the main achievements so the Sugar Belts in the Northern parts of the country has now more than 200 Kilometers of newly rehabilitated and paved Cedar Rds. And I myself in the two years that I have been coming to Belize and have been to the communities and listen to the people what difference these roads make to them, how fast they can easily get in and out to Health Services, to Schools, to Jobs that they can get up later in order to get to work and so and forth so it really is and honor to see that impact. This improved road infrastructure and the new technology of the near Infrared Laboratory has also increased competiveness of the Sugar Sector not to mention the new information system SYMIS. More than one thousand credit loans of the Sugar Cane Replanting Program facilitated the renewal of all Sugar Plantations and the plating of new sugar varieties. Together with the new agriculture equipment the Soil Laboratory, the Pest & Diseases Laboratory and the Sugar Industry Information System, the sector has now achieved more production and higher productivity so all these measures are there in order to protect you and make sure the impact is lessened. The construction of Farmers Markets and Preschools together with the Technical Avocational Training Programs provided better access to basic services in the Sugar Barrel ton and during my last trip we opened another beautiful market, it really was a fantastic to speak to women there how pleased they are, they no longer have to sit on the side off the pavement on the streets in the middle of the heat and under the sun or hide when it rains but they are under a roof, they have got proper boxes with running water and facility to close their produce and leave it overnight makes their lives hopefully easier and provide better access to locally grown agricultural produce for the population.
Gabriel Martinez, Chairman of the Sugar Industry Control Board, shared how the European Union contribution has made a significant difference in the Sugar Belt.
Gabriel Martinez – Chairman of the Sugar Industry Control Board
Gabriel Martinez Chairman Sugar Industry Control Board: The sugar Industry Control Board wishes to put on record its appreciation and gratitude to the Government of Belize and the European Union for the financial and technical assistance provided to the Sugar Industry of Belize through the Accompanying Measures for Sugar (AMS). The AMS Program had as its overall objective to reduce poverty and improve its overall standard of living of the population of Sugar Belt of Northern Belize. The specific objective was to further improve the economic conditions in Northern Belize through and increase in Sugar production and Economic Diversification. It goes without saying that the Program was developed as a response to the Sugar Industry Strategy which was developed to prepare Belize’s Sugar Industry for global competition with the facing out of the preferential prices and quotas for sugar in the European Market.
At today’s ceremony, the European Union launched a booklet entitled “Belize – European Union 1986 – 2018 and Beyond, which highlighted the accomplishments of the “accompanying measures for sugar” project. The European Union has also made investments in the Banana Belt.