Historically, Belize is known for the production and export of traditional crops primarily: Sugar, Citrus and Bananas. These major crops have been the foundation of the Belizean economy since the 1800’s. According to the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB), the export of these major crops contributed 6.2% to Belize’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) generating BZD $309 million/USD $154.5 million in export revenues in 2017. This robust and growing sector is also responsible for employing an estimated 11,000 person’s equivalent to 16% of Belize’s total labor force (Source: Statistical Institute of Belize). The main export markets for these products include the European Union, USA, UK, and CARICOM markets.
As global markets grow more competitive and demand trends shift, the Belizean productive sector has diversified into the production and export of non-traditional crops such as grains (including rice and corn), a variety of beans, cacao, cotton, coconut, turmeric, and a variety of spices. Apart from the production of these raw commodities, the productive sector has also expanded into additional value-added areas in agribusiness and agro-processing including cattle meat production, dairy, poultry, citrus juices, refined sugar, coconut and cohune oils, chocolate, gourmet pepper sauces, gourmet turmeric paste, and other assorted sauces, jams and powders for both local consumption and targeted niche export markets. Holistically and through this continued diversification, the agricultural sector has grown to contribute a total of 9% to Belize’s GDP in 2017.
As such, Belize is a proven haven for investment opportunities in the agri-business and agro-processing sector, with close proximity to major markets including North, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean which serves as an attraction in itself for those seeking regional trade opportunities in this sector. In addition, Belize offers the availability of high yield arable land with over 1.9 million acres (38%) of the total land area being considered agriculturally suitable. Belize also possesses an abundant pool of skilled labour and a young, vibrant and experienced workforce. Furthermore, the agribusiness and agro-processing sector is strongly supported by the Government of Belize through attractive investment incentives for farming, production and the export of goods. The investment incentive programs available to support this sector include both the Fiscal Incentive and the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) Programmes.
Belize also benefits from multiple trade agreements, the primary being the free trade agreement with the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) which makes provisions for the free trade of goods, services, and labor between Caribbean Member Countries. Other agreements include: the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) which provides duty free entry for specific products such as tropical fruits, winter vegetables, ethyl alcohol, rum, ethnic and specialty foods, such as, sauces, spices, liqueurs, jams and confectionary items into the USA; CARIBCAN which provides duty-free access to the Canadian market for most Commonwealth Caribbean exports; the Belize – Guatemala Partial Scope Agreement which facilitates trade particularly for agricultural commodities; as well as the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which is a reciprocal trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and CARIFORUM (CARICOM member states plus the Dominican Republic), where the EU applies duty-free-quota-free market access to all products from CARIFORUM member states with the exception of arms. Belize is also currently working on multiple partial scope agreements with Mexico and El Salvador to facilitate additional trade of goods and services regionally.
There are various investment opportunities in the Agribusiness & Agro-Processing industry including but not limited to the following:
- Raw Produce Production – traditional or non-traditional agri-produce.
- Organic Raw Produce – through hydroponics or other methodologies
- Value-addition – through agro-processing of raw agricultural commodities including aquaculture (ready to cook) and livestock (beef/mutton)
- Biofuels – for power generation, ethanol or bio-diesel from agri-produce
- Input Material Production – e.g., organic fertilizer, packaging materials, etc.
- Storage and Export-Handling Facilities – for agro-products (mobile and fixed).
- Transportation and Delivery of end produce to consumers (local and export).
|Other Investment Opportunities Include:|
|Value Addition||Emerging Opportunities|
|· Cocoa Powder||· Coconut|
|· Organic Chocolate||· Vanilla|
|· Scrubs and Soaps||· Spices|
|· Cacao Liqueur||· Pumpkin Seeds|
For more details on investment opportunities in Belize’s Agribusiness & Agro-processing industry, please feel free to contact our team at BelizeINVEST, a unit of BELTRAIDE!
14 Orchid Garden St.
City of Belmopan