Thursday, August 12, 2010



There is some disquiet and uncertainty over the ability of the Belize Government’s ability to transform the economy to light manufacturing exports? As separate from the PRIVATE SECTOR success at agriculture product niche marketing.

In the last year or so, Belize agriculture commodity exporters have found niche markets around the world in products like black eyed beans, red kidney beans, sugar, processed citrus juices and whole citrus fruits. Processed meat products are growing on the local market, there is a third new meat processor joining those who now produce exportable meat products. ( CANCUN is looking to be a good market ) The light processing food product export manufacturers are doing all right for the small 350,000 sized population.

The problem is; how do we switch to a light manufacturing export pillar of the economy?

There was an effort by the government to add and assign academic qualified staff to the exporting marketing of new products. New sub units in government departments have been created and staffed. How well that is turning out we do not know? The ones interviewed on television are talking a good game, lots of statistics and verbiage rhetoric, but there is no way to measure any creditable work by the new additions to the government salary base. No method of measuring their skills, or results for the scarce tax money being spent on them. How much of the agriculture based exports niche marketing is actually being done by the new government staff, tasked with this role? Is the money being well spent and is it productive? How do we assess their success or failure?

Ancedotal and casual impressions are that in the food processing and commodity niche marketing fields, the exports are actually being created and developed by the PRIVATE SECTOR and not by the assigned government bureaucratic academics, paid to assist and research. The money seems to be wasted on the government, in a scarce financial environment, among what are HIGH PRIORITY items for development. This therefore raises serious doubts about the government bureaucrats ability to LEAD a new building block, or pillar of the economy, involving light manufacturing products. We now produce and export things like bamboo furniture, we used to build and export boats, but that has disappeared, there is the desire to manufacture solar panels, windmills, ethanol fuel copper stills, and many other light manufacturing niche export items.

The PRIVATE SECTOR seems to have the agriculture and value added food processing niche export marketing in hand. None of the export markets seem to be coming through any efforts of those assigned by the government, to create and assist in finding and developing them. The USA EMBASSY has recently assisted the Chamber of Commerce with a specialist in TRADE MARKS and BRAND NAME systems seminar.

The next step in economic development, is entering the fields of LIGHT MANUFACTUREING, to eventually export to niche markets. Since there is no apparent obvious inputs, or results that are measurable from our scarce tax money being spent on such HIGH PRIORITY niche export markets in the agriculture field, by those being paid by our tax dollars in the government. One seriously questions the ability of these new staff and mini sub departments ability to proceed past the point of being a dull bureaucracy, to becoming a productive contributor to the growth of our need for a LIGHT MANUFACTURING pillar of our economy. Should we be spending scarce resources on bureaucrats that do not produce markets? Or develop policies to provide an enabling environment ( such as subsidies, or exemptions from duties ) for those wishing to import raw materials to light manufacture products for export? Or should we reassign those government monies to some other needed priority. Our funds as a nation are scarce, we need to make sure the money is productive in some form or other. The record does not show any results so far!.

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