Compete Caribbean Continues Support to Belize Shrimp Producers’ Cluster
Compete Caribbean continues furthering its support to the Belize Shrimp Cluster and will provide support to develop a Cluster Development Plan (CDP), which will help the sector improve competitiveness and define strategy. The project will focus on establishing a Bio-security Aquaculture Zone Management Plan (BAZMP) in Belize.
In collaboration with BELTRAIDE and the Belize Shrimp Growers Association (BSGA), a Compete Caribbean mission visited Belize to meet with key cluster stakeholders and regulatory agencies to present the cluster strategy and the project.
The development of a BAZMP in Belize is important to minimize the risk of introducing an infectious disease into to the shrimp farms and also to avoid that infectious agents spread to other sites and to other susceptible species. Sound bio-security practices are good for business because their cost can be low compared to the expected benefits on productivity and product quality. This is particularly the case when serious diseases can be excluded from your farm or eradicated from it if they occur.
Through previous Compete Caribbean support, the Belize shrimp cluster received training and capacity that allowed them to successfully obtain the Aquaculture Steward Council (ASC) certification, which ensures environmentally and socially responsible production of farmed shrimp. This certification has enabled the cluster to access premium markets where high value is placed on environmental and social sustainability (e.g. U.S.A, Canada).
Other results achieved include an increase in the total value of the cluster’s exports from $20million to $45million and a 101% percent increase in annual sales directly attributed to the ASC certification, employees saw their annual incomes grow by 46% and 170 new jobs were generated, of which approximately one third went to women, including senior management positions.
Learn more about Compete Caribbean support to the BSGA: https://youtu.be/KjiVbFEOg4g
For more information about the Belize’s ASC certification: https://youtu.be/8rAlOmp7sA8
Helping Caribbean People Improve Their Health
Belmopan, Belize, December 14, 2015 – A small firm in Belize is aggressively striving to revolutionise the beverage industry in the region. Caribbean Premier Products Ltd. (CPPL) is currently testing a cost effective, healthy fruit drink alternative which is all-natural, low caloric and high in plant nutrients and fibers.
In 2013, CPPL developed the formula for and produced in limited quantities, Pure Nature MD®, a new line of drink products consisting of all-natural tropical fruits that are low in calories and high in plant nutrients and fibers. The drink is touted by the company as refreshing and delicious.
Preliminary data also suggests that properties in the beverages could potentially lower blood glucose and normalize blood pressure. The innovation in the formula is the ability to use just enough fruit to keep calories and natural fruit sugar below 36mg, which is the point at which the body is triggered to increase its own blood sugar. Other ingredients are introduced to increase the fiber content which slows down insulin production. It is the type and the proportion of ingredients that makes the formula work.
Specifically, the product utilizes plant parts of the Aloe Vera and Nopal Cactus in the manufacturing process and is produced in flavors of tropical fruits indigenous to Belize and the wider region such as Sour Sop and Guava. The product will be positioned as a nutritional supplement suitable for persons who must or want to maintain or lower blood sugar and carbohydrate levels.
The company started production and testing through a limited distribution in Belize in 2014 and to date has sold just over 7,000, 300ml units through its local network. It uses information and feedback from its distributors to improve the sensory experience for the domestic market.
Compete Caribbean is providing funding to Pure Nature MD aimed at processing for export as well as product validation and protection.
Belize Shrimp Growers’ Conquer Premium Markets United Kingdom Buying Belize Shrimp!
Belize City, Belize, December 17, 2015 – A strong will to increase its export market base and achieve the coveted international Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification led to the formation of the Belize Shrimp cluster and it is now reaping the benefits of accomplishing both goals.
Challenged by an unforeseen viral disease which severely impacted the Belize shrimp industry, the cluster still managed to successfully supply UK based multinational retailer Marks and Spencer as well as the second largest supermarket chain in the UK, Sainbury’s, with 1.1 million pounds of shrimp in 2015.
Under the Sainsbury agreement, the shrimp is repackaged under its premium brand and sold exclusively by the chain as it has agreed not to source shrimp from any other supplier under its brand. This has resulted in a higher than projected price premium for exports to these markets.
As a direct result of Compete Caribbean’s intervention, Belize Aquaculture Ltd. – the lead firm responsible for the UK arrangements – was able to guarantee quality, consistency and volume by engaging in purchase agreements for the type and quality of shrimp needed from the other ASC certified farms in the cluster. As a result, even the smallest firms in the cluster plug directly into the export value chain for Belize shrimp.
Alvin Henderson from Royal Mayan Shrimp Farms and The Belize Shrimp Growers’ Association (BSGA) revealed: “Prior to this project, these specialized niche markets in Europe, the US and Canada would have been inaccessible. The fact that queries come from as far as Belgium is also not a surprise to us. We expected that the European market, particularly the UK multiples, would have been the first to seek after our product. Our assumption was correct.” He further added that ASC certification is a pre-condition for international sales.
Back in 2012, a highly competitive process saw the cluster receiving a grant of USD500,000 to prepare for and acquire the ASC certification as well as to strengthen the capability of the cluster. ASC standards require farm performance to be measured against both environmental and social requirements, and certification guarantees buyers that the shrimp they purchase has been farmed with minimal impacts on the environment and the surrounding communities.
In addition, only 20% of shrimp producers in the world meet the rigorous certification standards and the Belize farms success story makes it the first time in the world where almost the entire industry acquired certification. This would improve the competitiveness of the industry and provide for an advantage into key European and North American markets.
Initially eight farms operating as an economic cluster under the facilitation of the World Wildlife Fund, and accounting for 90% of production in Belize, cooperated and committed to the certification process. In April of 2015 all eight received certification! One farm was certified later in the process bringing the total certified farms to nine. The Compete Caribbean grant also paid for studies and assessments to prepare the farmers for the audit, the audit and certification, training and capacity building of managers, supervisors and technical staff in specialized areas such as Pond Management and Feeding, Effluent and Waste Management Control, and Water Quality Collection and Monitoring.
As a direct result, at the farm level, production has increased and the farmers are assured of the value of their production methods to consumers and local stakeholders. The cluster will benefit from the opportunity to group and brand production to satisfy high volume orders, and as an industry initiative, the country brand as a credible supplier of quality, responsibly produced shrimp is objectively qualified and established.
These notable accomplishments bring to close a Compete Caribbean project that has been heralded a great success resulting in direct benefits to the cluster of shrimp farmers, Belize and its people. Describing the BSGA project as a flagship initiative, Celene Cleland-Gomez, Enterprise Innovation Challenge Fund (EICF) Coordinator said: “It was my absolute pleasure to work with the farmers and the WWF in the delivery of this project. They were committed and consistent in their objectives and although competitors they found and maintained common ground for the benefit of all concerned, elevating not just the individual farms but the entire industry to prominence and success. They are a credit to clustering in the region and I will always be proud to have been affiliated with the initiative.”
Cleland-Gomez’ sentiments were echoed by Sylvia Dohnert, Executive Director of Compete Caribbean who expressed delight and extreme satisfaction with the project.
Productive Development Policies in Belize
The aim of this study is to conduct a critical appraisal of PDPs applied by the government of Belize (GoB), and in particular assess two sectors that account for a large share of economic activity and have acknowledged potential for further growth: tourism and agriculture. Accordingly, following Crespi et al. (2014), this study subjects existing policies to three tests:
- Is there a plausible market or government failure that has been diagnosed to justify the policy?
- Is the alleged policy remedy—whether it entails alleviating the failure or redressing its impact—a good match for the diagnosis?
- Are institutional capabilities sufficiently strong to design and carry out a policy as intended?
Preparing Belize Shrimp Growers Association for ASC Shrimp Certification to improve its Competitiveness (Project Type – Support to Clustering Initiatives)
To improve the capacity of the Belize Shrimp Cluster to serve selected niche markets in the Caribbean region, North America and Europe.
Strengthening the Institutional Architecture for Investment Attraction in Belize
Status: In Execution
This project is to strengthen the institutional framework and the necessary capacities of BELTRAIDE to support investment attraction. The Project seeks to increase private sector growth, led by exports and investments, focused in the sectors where Belize has competitive advantages. With the strengthening of the institutional framework of BELTRAIDE, guided by international best practice, the organization will be more efficient and effective at attracting investment and targeting it to strategic productive sectors.
Identifying Sustainable Agricultural Initiatives in the Caribbean
This project partners with the IDB’s Multilateral Investment Fund to study sustainable agriculture in Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, The Bahamas and Trinidad and& Tobago. It examines current developments in sustainable agriculture in this country, analyses specific challenges, and identifies opportunities, taking into consideration trade liberalization, food safety, quality and security, rising food prices, the expansion of niche markets, diversification, climate change and environmental sustainability.
Productive Development Policies in the Caribbean
This project analyses the impact of Productive Development Polices in The Bahamas, Belize, and Suriname using the â€œProductive Development Policiesâ€ framework developed by Ricardo Hausmann and a team at Harvard University. It complements similar analyses undertaken by the IDB on Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago that were completed in order to achieve a better understanding of PDPs in the region.