Thursday, August 5, 2010



By Ray Auxillou/ Santa Elena town, Belize

The recent revelation that Portugal is importing black eyed beans and Value Added Processing them in canning, for distribution throughout the European Union countries, makes one think a bit. Belize also has a FREE TRADE no tariff agreement with the EU.
It would seem the next step for the Mennonite different bean and corn producer farmer groups, is to set up two separate companies in a joint venture. Value Added Processing does several things. It improves your profit margin and gives you a product with a long shelf life in different climates of the world.
First the UK had the edge in colonial days in food processing, because they had TIN mines from which to make cans for foods. These days the MEXICANS and the BRAZILIANS are more modern than the UK and if my refried beans in a can is any example, the Mexicans at least, have a system of making cans out of thin aluminum instead of the old fashioned steel and tinning process. Because some foods are acidic, the refried beans can from Mexico has a ceramic liner. Not knowing how they make these, it looks like a relatively simple process to stamp cans, out of aluminum. The ceramic coating is my guess they have a spray head that sprays the inside can with a liquid and then it is baked hard? This gives food security. So a small plant to produce cans for Belizean food products and I am thinking in terms of black eyed beans, red kidney beans and sweet corn seems to be the next logical step for the Mennonites as exporters of food products.
The second company would be needed to actually take the cans and process the food. It looks like you cook the beans varieties and the sweet corn, then the lid is stamped on and crimped. When it cools it provides a vapor lock, or vacuum packing, which also extends shelf life for groceries in all kinds of climates and parts of the world.
The existing red bean producer groups around Spanish Lookout would supply beans to the food processing plant, as also the black eyed beans from the North of Belize and farmers of sweet corn would have their own seasonal delivery system to the canning processing plant. Careful estimates of production would need to be done, so that one didn’t squander millions of dollars on too large a processing plant. The farming producer groups would obviously have shares in both can producing and food processing/canning companies. So they got their wholesale price for product and dividends, as icing on the cake! The WORLD is your market and it surely seems there is no shortage of buyers and markets for food.

And as a footnote, I would invest my savings of $100,000 in either company, the one making the cans, or the one processing the crops. My goal would be to get a dividend. I have faith in the Mennonite community to do it right, through hard work.

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