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S.I.B. Confirms Sharp Decline in Domestic Exports: Shrimp, Banana and Citrus

Mar 29, 2023

S.I.B. Confirms Sharp Decline in Domestic Exports: Shrimp, Banana and Citrus

Earlier today, the Statistical Institute of Belize confirmed what has been previously reported by the Minister of Agriculture with respect to the underwhelming performance of various industries, including crude oil, citrus, banana and shrimp.  In discussing imports and exports, statistician Tiffany Vasquez drew comparisons between these respective sectors at the peak of productivity more than a few years ago, as well as during various low points in the fourth quarter of 2022. So, while the economy grew by ten point five percent between September and December of last year, several of the country’s major crops were adversely affected by a number of factors.

Tiffany Vasquez

Tiffany Vasquez, Statistician II, S.I.B.

“It is quite evident that spending on imports has been rising steadily, only to increase rapidly in the last two years due to the effects of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, reaching to a point in 2022 where imports are almost three times that of exports.  This picture, however, simply exposes one fact, that while imports have been going up, overall, Belize’s domestic exports have been gradually declining for many years.  Given the nature of oil, that is it being a finite resource, the decline was inevitable where in 2011, crude petroleum contributed more than two hundred and ninety million dollars to the domestic exports.  In 2022, that contribution plummeted to only a little over three million dollars.  Citrus exports also took an unfortunate turn for after a long-drawn-out battle with disease and, of late, labor challenges and the significant input cost of fuel and fertilizers, orange and grapefruit concentrate export earnings went from one hundred and forty-three million dollars in 2012, to twenty-seven million dollars in 2022.  However, the steepest decline of all major exports came from marine products, as the collapse of shrimp which began in 2015 was swift and harsh.  Prior to the fall of shrimp in 2014, marine exports were valued at one hundred and thirteen million dollars.  In 2022, it was less than half of that, at fifty-three million dollars, thus highlighting the pivotal role that shrimp played in our marine exports.”