Agriculture and agribusiness are integral parts of Belize’s economy and the base of the productive sector, supporting large numbers of workers. This sector also contributes to the overall food security of the country as locally grown fruit and vegetables are consumed domestically. During the height of the pandemic, the Government of Belize encouraged the public to purchase locally grown produce, which drove growth in Belizean dietary staples.
Agriculture and agribusiness thrive in Belize due to significant rainfall and a relatively stable year-round sub-tropical climate. Sugar, citrus, and banana production dominate the sector alongside smaller quantities of non-traditional products such as cacao, corn, hot pepper sauces, processed jams, jellies, extracts, and pastes.
Value-added agriculture investments are needed to expand irrigation, product storage, affordable food packaging, and preservation. Farms in Belize generally lack irrigation systems or modern agricultural equipment. Efficiency and yield per acre could be significantly improved with additional capital investment. Food packaging, preservation, and value-added investments are needed to promote food security and enhance revenues for producers.
Disease prevention and natural disaster mitigation are Belize’s top concerns. Both the citrus and shrimp farming industries continue to battle with disease. The citrus industry continues to experience a decline in production from citrus greening (Huanglongbing) disease, while shrimp farming is slowly rebounding from a bacterial disease that had stalled production since 2015.
Agribusiness opportunities include the production of raw produce in traditional agriculture, organic agriculture, and aquaculture sectors; value-added agribusiness and livestock; and biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. Opportunities in this sector exist in agricultural machinery and equipment, modernization systems and the incorporation of sustainable technology in agricultural practices, processes and equipment e.g. improved irrigation, fertilization, organic production, as well as better disease and pest management. The sale of production inputs also presents opportunities to U.S. businesses as Belize’s agricultural sector depends largely on imported inputs such as fertilizer, packaging materials, and machinery largely sourced from Central America. Agriculture-related opportunities also exist in value-added investments and trade to advance packaging and preservation methods; improved production and processing processes; product marketing and branding; and storage and export handling.
- Belize Ministry of Agriculture
- Belize Agricultural Health Authority
- Belize Bureau of Standards
- Belize Trade and Investment Development Service
- Government of Belize Procurement Portal