Belize Achieves Soybean Self-Sufficiency, Saving Millions in Imports
Belize no longer has the need to import soybeans. The announcement places another feather in the cap for Belize’s agricultural sector as soybeans serve for the production of soybean oil and animal feed. Just four years ago, in 2019, the soybean industry was in problems due to derivatives making its way into the country from Mexico. According to Minister of Agriculture, Jose Abelardo Mai, the current status of the industry is a reason to celebrate as it significantly cuts the cost of imports by millions.
Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture: “Soybean was something we wanted to work on to get it to a point where we don’t have to import soybean. We’re there at this time and so I think we’ve achieved a lot of good things. I must say that while we have done a lot we still have a lot of challenges and we are working on those right now. Ten fifteen years ago probably a bit more we used to import $25 million dollars worth of soybean products. I think we have another $24 million that we import from fats and oils, edible oils. We’ve reached the point now last year that we have not imported on grain of soybean. Any country that produces its own corn, its own rice, its own soybean controls the price of food. When you don’t have to import your soybean you control the price of poultry, of pork and of sometimes beef because that is the highest cost in livestock production. Let’s say poultry production the highest cost is feed so if you produce your own corn and your own soybean then you can have control over your costs. The largest producer of soybean is Little Belize followed by Indian Creek and then Spanish Lookout.”
To date, Brazil is the leading producer of soybean in the world. The United States follows at second, and Argentina at third.