FAO in Belize

Belize stretches over an area of 22 966 sq. km., of which 160 sq. km. is water and 22 806 sq. km. is land. The population is approximately 301,000 with a population growth rate of 3.3%.  Belize was the last British colony on the American mainland, its independence delayed until 1981 by long-running tension with neighbouring Guatemala, which claims a large portion of its territory. 

Belize has been a member of FAO since 1983.  Since December 1994, Belize has been covered through double accreditation from the FAO Representation in Jamaica.

Food and Agriculture Situation

Agriculture, including fisheries, contributed 15% of GDP in 2003 - manufacturing of agricultural products increased the total contribution of the sector to around 20% of GDP.  Agriculture currently provides some 70% of the country's total foreign exchange earnings, and employs approximately 30% of the total labour force.  The agricultural base dates back to the mid-20th century when there was a shift from the production of forestry products such as logwood, mahogany and chicle towards large-scale plantation-type agriculture with citrus and banana cultivation in the south of the country and sugarcane in the north.  In more recent times, "non-traditional" agricultural crops and fisheries have become more important. The main growth areas have been citrus, bananas, non-traditional and farmed shrimp. Sugar also remains important, but struggles to be competitive - even at preferential market access prices.

The expansion and improvement of agriculture is one of the principal aims of national development planning.  The government has been assisted by TCP to develop a national agricultural strategy.  It also received technical assistance through TCPF in Statistics, Extension, Cooperatives, and aquaculture among others. The implementation of the strategy is scheduled for funding under EU assistance. FAO discharges its many functions through the offering of technical assistance in the form of project requests made by or through the Government.

The mandate of FAO is to support national efforts to promote food security and sustainable development. 







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