Other Crops and Horticulture
Non-traditional agriculture production has played an increasingly important role in exports in recent years. While citrus, sugar and bananas are major contributors towards GDP, there are fairly new crops that are expanding Belize’s food basket. Papayas, grains and legumes, and vegetables are a few examples.
Belize’s production of papayas has expanded over recent years. By the end of 2008, the total area under production was 1,414 acres which is mainly concentrated in the Orange Walk district since the Corozal district only has 75 acres under cultivation.11 The industry generated revenues starting at Bz$ 0.25 million in 199512 to Bz$ 21.0 million in 2008.13 The data in Table 1 illustrates that production was at 55.6 million pounds in 2004 and increased to more than 62.0 million pounds in 2008. Production was robust in 2006 with 75.7 million pounds. However, the industry suffered a major impediment in August 2007 with the devastation caused by Hurricane Dean. The total crop loss estimate was $US$11.25mn and a projected cost to export earnings was US$20.0mn.14 On average, papayas contribute approximately $25 million towards GDP.
Belize’s main export market for papayas is the United States. Expansion in production has helped Belize to become the second largest supplier of papayas to the US, after Mexico.15 Table 1 illustrates production figures and revenues generated between 2004 and 2008.
Source: Statistical Institute of Belize
Grains and Legumes
Belize produced 5.53 million pounds of Red Kidney beans in 2008 of which 3.6 million pounds were exported and valued at $3.4 million. The country exported 5.2 million pounds of black eye peas which valued at $4.0 million. Exports in black eye peas were at its record high in 2003 at 8.1 million pounds and valued at 3.4 million.
Corn has seen a high production year in 2007 of 84.4 million pounds. Production dwindled to 65.2 million pounds in 2008 and valued at $17.6 million, a 33% decrease in output.
Rice production in 2008 was 25.9 million pounds and was valued at $6.5 million. Similar to corn, 2007 was a better production year for rice at 39.1 million pounds and valued at $8.6 million.