Sunday, October 23, 2011



I was solicited by a young man from Benque Viejo who was interested in starting a small business. He had read on this BLOG WesternBelizeHappenings, about making hammocks for export in Belize. The young man was persistant, emailing me several times. Last Saturday we had a face to face meet at my place. He brought a sample hammock from Chetumal to show me. It is exactly what I want to make here in Belize. Big, over 110 double strings, going from the body of the hammock, to the loop. Most local hammocks are 45 double strings. They are too short and narrow for the export gringo market in Europe and North America. Danish people are like 7 ft in height or just a few inches shorter and weigh over 220 pounds. You can´t fit a gringo into a Mayan hammock, made for people who average only 5 ft 4 inches in height.
The whole business with making hammocks in Belize is for me anyway, a development project for my community. Being piecework, there is no hourly wage. You get paid when you finish a hammock. The idea to provide jobs and income flow to poor people. It being a hand labor skill easily learned. I located a buyer in the USA and currently am trying to fit price of finished product to that of the competition on the internet.
The thing is; we need to import synthetic strings in balls, or spools of different colors, to make hammocks in Belize. There are import duties and in the never ending struggle to be competitive on the world market. the struggle is to keep your costs low. Currently I have one new hammock to ship off in the mail as a FREE SAMPLE.
At any rate, I thought of getting imported string to make hammocks duty free. My young partner has already talked to all and sundry in government departments in Belmopan. However he is a young naive young man. I told him it doesn´t work that way.
To please him, I contacted BELTRAIDE to see what they would say. Guess what? No surprise. The only thing they could suggest was a FISCAL INCENTIVE PROGRAM. Now we are looking to start making a dozen hammocks and build up from there. This could be nothing more than a cottage industry, thatch roofed shaded, outdoor part time activity for some destitute single mother, scattered around Western Belize. Dealing with a government FISCAL INCENTIVE PROGRAM is like waving a red flag at a BULL. The bureaucratic run-a-round would be more expensive than even one hammock, or 200 hammocks. The paper work horrendous. The travel costs prohibitive in time, and money which my would be entrepreneur doesn´t have. Already my correspondence with BELTRAIDE is about me, or my young entrepreneur traveling to Belmopan to talk with them and fill out some forms. GET REAL people! I get where they are coming from. They want stuff on paper that they can claim in monthly evaluations as works in progress. HAH! I´m an old salt, been there and done that! Bureaucracy is the same in every darned country in the world.
Now, since we do not qualify ( can´t find the money or justify it )to do things the bureaucratic way, I sent off one of those "out the box" ideas to the STATISTICS UNIT asking for import dollar figures for string, less than 3/8 ths inch in diameter, made of cotton, manila, dacron, nylon, twine, parachute cord, synthetics and so forth for a year. Doubt there is that much in dollar value? But wanted to put that figure against the benefits of a Belizean micro financed, cottage industry entrepreneurial effort, and submit a REPORT and request to CABINET, to have such strings listed at CUSTOMS STATIONS as duty free imports. The job of the government, or CABINET of course is to weigh the taxes earned from customs duties, versus the economic effect and job work created by making string materials duty free at the border, so we could shave off the costs on finished product to become competitive. As a made in Belize product for export. At the moment, I can buy from either Guatemala, or Mexico finished hammocks at the same price you can buy the cheapest hammocks in the USA. Which is our market. So we are not competitive by buying finished product as hammocks and re-exporting them. I´m still waiting for the Statistics Unit to reply. In the meantime, I went across to Melchor in Guatemala and bought a couple of hammocks to mail off as FREE SAMPLES to the would be distributor in the USA.
It is looking like we have to make the hammocks here, which was the original idea anyway. We were looking for the cash flow economic benefits for providing work in Belize. Next thing is to figure out how we can get strings mentioned above as a duty free product at customs entry points, on some sort of list. There she stands for the moment. Progress sometimes is in inches.



Hi!! Are you interested in the string for the hammocks??


I might be able to help you. Email me at
I am currently in The United States.