A strong will to increase its export market base and achieve the coveted international Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification led to the formation of the Belize Shrimp cluster and it is now reaping the benefits of accomplishing both goals.
Challenged by an unforeseen viral disease which severely impacted the Belize shrimp industry, the cluster still managed to successfully supply UK based multinational retailer Marks and Spencer as well as the second largest supermarket chain in the UK, Sainbury’s, with 1.1 million pounds of shrimp in 2015.
Under the Sainsbury agreement, the shrimp is repackaged under its premium brand and sold exclusively by the chain as it has agreed not to source shrimp from any other supplier under its brand. This has resulted in a higher than projected price premium for exports to these markets.
A new multi-million, state of the art soft drink bottling facility was inaugurated on Tuesday, 13th January by Bowen & Bowen Ltd as part of the company’s efforts to increase its competitive edge to secure its fair share of the local market, which in recent years has been flooded by an expanding number of imported brands.
The beverage market in Belize is becoming more competitive with products now being imported from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
To maintain its market share, Bowen and Bowen Ltd decided to upgrade its soft drink manufacturing and beer fermentation and bottling capacity at its facilities in Ladyville. This investment is mainly in the form of new bottling equipment in line with the requirements that the international holders (Coca Cola, Fanta and Guinness) are demanding.
The project will cost approximately Bz 79 million and will be implemented in three main phases over a period five years with the soft drink bottling facility being on the top list.
According to Michael Bowen, President and CEO of Bowen and Bowen, the new facility is valued at approximately Bz $40 million and can process 22,000 bottles per hour.
Bowen and Bowen is the producer of Lighthouse Lager, Belikin Beer and Stout, Belikin Premium, Guinness Stout, Coca Cola, Sprite, Fanta, Crystal Water and Crystal Fruit Beverage.
At the inauguration ceremony, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said the investment was emblematic of the company’s commitment to producing the finest products for the local market and the creation of jobs for Belizeans. He offered his congratulations to the management of Bowen and Bowen Ltd and reiterated his Government’s unwavering support for the project.
Under the Government of Belize’s Fiscal Incentive Programme, the Bowen and Bowen expansion project was granted a development concession, which is being administered by the Aftercare Unit of the Belize Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), to assist the company to increase the feasibility for the full implementation of its expansion plan.
BELTRAIDE’s mission is to enhance Belize’s prosperity by fostering investment confidence, entrepreneurship, business growth and innovation. In addition to its main functions, BELTRAIDE also operates the Small Business Development Centre (SBDCBelize) and the Belize Training Employment Centre (BTEC), which are based in Belize City.
Since its establishment in 2011 over 8,000 local and international businesses have benefited from BELTRAIDE services.
The inaugural ceremony was attended by over 2,000 company employees, government officials, members of the House of Representatives and Ministers of Government, including Hon Tracy Taegar, Minister of State in the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce. Minister Taegar is also the Minister responsible for Beltraide.