The Minister of Agriculture says that Belize has been making some strides in the agriculture sector. The government has embarked on a census that seeks to map the entire agriculture sector in the country to record accurate data on agricultural production. One of the more important objectives of this program is to promote biosecurity, which is a series of measures to protect against the entry and spread of pests and diseases. This will allow Belize to meet international trading standards and improve exports. Minister Hulse says that presently, Belize is leading in the livestock sector as it has been declared free of diseases like tuberculosis and brucellosis. He also spoke of the improvements in agriculture.
Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture: “Bananas that go mainly into Europe, we have citrus, citrus has it’s challenges but I’d like to say that our intervention and engagement with the private sector looks at stabilizing citrus and we hope we can stabilize that issue based on the greening. Shrimp seems to be fairly stable as well and beginning to grow back again- sugar has been doing okay. Then we are pushing up our vegetable production, grains is doing very well we’ve shipped, I understand, 26 tons of food grade corn into Guatemala this year. One of the things that came out of this meeting however though is the issue of the drought that is plaguing Central American moving up from Panama and will also affect Belize and it’s a think we have pay specific attention to because it’s a direct effect of climate change as we say. What it means is that if we don’t have rains, to put it simply so, if we don’t have rains then the grass for the cattle dries up, all the small farmers who produce and depend on grain won’t produce and that can be a crisis; so that is one of the issues that we are looking seriously at and as you know none of our nations, and even Belize is not developed enough to utilize irrigation for our production not many farms are irrigated so that is a serious concern for us.”
Among countries in the region affected by the drought is El Salvador, where its sugar industry is expecting to see a fall in production as a result.