Thursday, August 5, 2010


NEW TROPICAL CROPS IN BELIZE EXPANDING in the land of opportunity!

One of the new crops in Belize that is expanding is Jatropha. A plant that grows and can produce diesel equivalent oil, for energy self sufficiency in Belize. There is a ready supply of 20,000 seedlings being sold near mile 63 on the Western Highway, telephone: 621 3432 for the production of bio diesel.
I have not yet heard or seen of any machinery used to produce the bio diesel in Belize yet. It will be interesting to see the cost anaylsis when somebody actually produces bio diesel from Jatropha for sale on the local market.

PITAYHA that luscious DRAGON FRUIT, you scoop out of a fruit with a spoon to eat, that is like ICE CREAM, but very healthy. The Pitayha growing acreage is expanding very slowly. The fruit is produced from a climbing cactus. I used to have five plants in my daughter’s yard in Hillview, but they got stolen. Her yard is not fenced. It takes four years to produce 8000 to 10,000 lbs of pitahya, per acre, a year. Locally the fruit is available in the markets from June through October. There is an export market all over the world for them. Far from that yet, as I believe less than 10 acres of Pitayha are currently being grown?

LOCAL TOLEDO RICE is growing in acreage. Good rice too! Been a lot of time and money spent by TAIWAN on rice production. Finally the rice growing is moving to mechanization with mechanical rice planters, combine harvesters. New machinery just came in, to service a new 50 acre rice plantation going in down in the Toledo District. Exporting rice is a strong possibility inside a dozen years.
Rice production is beset by a bureaucratic method of blanket price control locally and not by quality and variety. This is crippling improvements in production, when bad rice and better rice cannot compete for price in the market place. Consequently the government monopoly on prices is stunting development of better quality types of rice production. The incentive is not there to improve to meet international export standards.

Agriculture Report printed out the rainfall data for Spanish Lookout for the past 42 years. Interestingly enough the average rainfall over 42 years was 61 and a half inches in this area of agriculture. Our government meteorological department does not print out data on rainfall and wind speeds. Windmill turbine investors are constantly seeking wind data locations from this government department, but they are ignored. A non functional statistical department. They basically only do weather reports for the TV news.

PRICES FOR CATTLE AND HOGS HAVE BEEN TRENDING LOWER FOR PAST TWO YEARS, says the Agriculture Report for June/July. Part of the problem is the need to illegally export cattle, as the government has been impossibly slow to legalize the process and speed up the regulatory aspects with Mexico. The loss to the economy is about $300 per cow. This is translating to a LOSS to our economy of about $6,750,000. There is a very good breakdown of the cattle business nationally in this Agriculture Report magazine, done by Beth Robinson.

ZIMBABWE loss is BELIZE gain. Old farmer friend in ZIMBABWE finally found a lost high school friend through the internet, in tropical Belize. A contributor to the Agriculture Report in Belize called Peter Margesson. Tim Savory of Zimbabwe was happy to be reunited with him via the internet.

REIMER Mennonite FEED MILL out in Spanish Lookout now worth several millions of dollars. They deal with poultry and livestock feeds mostly. 50 years ago they started with six local bought chickens. Port town people on the coast continue to waste their time, looking for handouts, as in salaried government clerical jobs. BELIZE is the land of OPPORTUNITY.

Ministries of AGRICULTURE, HEALTH and EDUCATION need to start coordinating their actions. Farmers and villages are complaining about the different groups and NGO’s constantly bothering them looking for information and data collecting. Obviously the Government Departments do not know what the right hand and left hand are doing.

BELIZE IS THE FOURTH LARGEST EXPORTER OF BLACK EYED BEANS in the whole world. Belize has the 2nd best quality of black eyed beans. 8.2 million pounds were harvested last year. The quantity is growing about 15% per year. 60% of the black eyed bean crop is sold to CARICOM countries, but they are sold ALL OVER THE WORLD. In CARICOM, Trinidad is the biggest consumer. Around the world, they are a favorite of ARABS. Europe actually consumes a lot, but funny enough Portugal dominates the processing/canning sector for black eyed beans and ships them to fellow European Union countries. Portugal is the biggest importer in Europe of raw beans. They sell at about $72 Bz for a 100 lbs sack as a raw commodity, F.O.B. A local company of farmers have organized themselves to give themselves a steady price and each farmer gets a monthly cheque. Marketing Red Kidney beans is a different kettle of fish, as most of this is consumed locally. BEL CAR the farmer owned company has the capacity to package approximately 100,000 lbs of beans daily. They plan to expand into producing corn grits for export.

LENTILS are my families most favorite bean food in Belize. Unfortunately nobody in Belize is growing them yet. We have to buy imported GOYA LENTILS. Another opportunity going to waste for want of a producer. There is a big WORLD MARKET all over.

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