The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), and the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA) held its first workshop today, 22nd October, 2013, on the Internationalization of Agricultural SMEs in Belize.
The workshop was geared at addressing the challenges faced by small and medium sized agricultural enterprises coupled with developing viable strategies to achieve these defined objectives in the long term.
SELA facilitated this process by acting as a catalyst conducting courses and workshops on the internationalization of SME’s, supported by experts from public and private organizations in several countries both regionally and internationally. In this manner, SELA performs the export promotion of micro and small enterprises in the agricultural sector and supports the growing industry.
A significant number of these initiatives have been successfully promoted and implemented including strategies, programs and tools to facilitate the insertion of SME’s in international markets.
In this regard, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has entered into a technical agreement with SELA to facilitate such programs in Belize while soliciting the assistance of BELTRAIDE and other business support organizations (BSO’s).
The Consultant’s tailored the workshop to address the following three key areas:
- To promote productive development strategies of export cluster formation and the internationalization of SME’s for their entry into regional and international markets.
- To encourage the exchange of goods and services between Belize and other Latin American countries, with the aim of strengthening the productive integration of the region.
- To promote the participation of agricultural SME’s in regional and international trade fairs and business matchmaking events.
Agriculture plays a key role in Belize’s GDP. Important to note are recent relevant economic statistics as published by the Statistic Institute of Belize (SIB):
- The Belizean economy grew by 5.3% in 2012 recording its best showing in 9 years
- While there was marked improvement in the economic performance of virtually all sectors when compared to 2011, the main drivers of the growth were Agriculture and Wholesale and Retail Trade.
- The Agricultural sector was boosted by increases in production of bananas, sugarcane and citrus.
- Banana production rose by 42.7% while sugarcane production rose by 22.5% and citrus production rose by 17.5% in 2012
The second day for the workshop will also be geared at further addressing the challenges faced; however, most importantly advising exporters on the path forward in ensuring their endeavor in exporting is capitalized on.