January 10, 2023


Record soybean harvest expected in Belize



Belize's soybean production is expected to reach record totals as soybean oil and soymeal are now exported from the country, Breaking Belize News reported.


After producing a record 38 million pounds of soybeans from over 28,000 acres planted in 2021, Belize expects to produce a record breaking 50 million pounds of soybeans from nearly the same acreage planted in 2022 due to a much better yield per acre, according to the country's Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise (MAFSE).


Having export market outlets is essential at this point because the current soybean crop in Belize is expected to produce an excess of 10 million pounds of soybean.


Belize is exporting soymeal in addition to soybean oil. Since exporting soybean oil for the first time to Guyana in 2017, Belize has continued to do so to Jamaica, Guyana, and Costa Rica. Lyell Banman, a salesperson from Bel-Car Export and Import Company Ltd, said their company exported 550 metric tonnes in 2022, or 1,210,000 pounds, in 25 container loads.


The export of soybean meal is still in its infancy. This month, Trinidad and Tobago received the first container shipment, which contained about 28 metric tonnes of soybean meal, or 61,500 pounds. Banman asserted that Bel-Car is looking for a second customer in Trinidad and Tobago and has already begun investigating the possibility of exporting soybean meal to Costa Rica.


Belize's soybean industry is crucial for ensuring the country's food security, the country's Ministry of Agriculture said. Previously Belize relied on imported soybean concentrates to be used as animal feed.


Through MAFSE, the Belizean government has supported soybean production and research for more than 25 years in an effort to correct this imbalance. With a recent upturn, the industry has been cultivating 28,000 acres annually over the last two years, up from 5,000 acres annually over many years when the country had no production in the 1990s.


The Belize Ministry of Agriculture said the country won't need to import any soybean concentrates with the current level of production, and with the establishment of a soybean oil processing facility in Spanish Lookout and a soybean extrusion facility in Blue Creek, the nation will begin importing less cooking oil.


By 2022, Belize is not anticipated to import any soybean concentrates for animal feed, MAFSE said. The organisation said because of this continuous increase in production, soybean concentrates have been reducing annually from around BZD 25 million (~US$12.4 million; BZD 1 = US$0.50) in the early 2000s.


-      Breaking Belize News

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