As usual, BEL-CAR is keeping up with the world, with their CEO Otto Friesen serving as an unofficial ambassador of our growing Belizean agricultural community. Otto and another traveled to Las Vegas, USA, to attend a conference for CICILS. “CICILS is the not-for-profit peak body for the whole global pulses industry value chain. As the sole international confederation for the industry, it enjoys membership from 18 national associations (federations) and over 600 private sector members in an industry worth over $100 Billion at the retail level and over 60 M tonnes in pulse production and distribution in over 55 countries.”* CICILS is headquartered in Dubai.
Corn – Last year’s corn crop is diminishing nicely – enough for the local market and some sales to Guatemala (mainly for pig feed). The buyer of last fall’s bulk corn shipment (see last issue #27, pg 16) is negotiating for another bulk load, but supplies do not warrant another bulk sale until the new crop arrives. Guyana’s rice flood (flood of rice not water), now with a 2nd year of bumper rice crops, is still hampering Belize’s corn sales (see issue 27, pg 16 and this issue, pg 36). Some in the Caribbean switch cheap rice for our premium corn.
Beans – Currently there is a world shortage for black eye peas and black eye prices are up. This would put Belize in a good situation except for the quality this year. The harvesting was still going on at time of the interview for this article, as there was a 6 wk. time span planting. The quality of the first planting does not indicate it reaches world market standards. Europe wants better, in size as well as quality. Black eyes are a bit more particular than other beans, as they require at least 2 weeks with no rain right before harvest. All black eyes are all desiccated in Belize. If they are not, the green leaves and plant parts tint the beans. Usually the contact herbicide paraquat is used. Spanish Lookout’s red kidneys were a record- breaking crop. RK prices are low as BEL-CAR has a huge crop to sell. They are working to recapture the Caribbean markets adversely affected by high prices last season. The Caribbean at that time switched to some degree, to consuming the little reds.
Other products – Chia (Salvia hispanica) – BEL-CAR has 6 containers (50,000 lbs per) of chia (Salvia hispanica) packed and is seeking a buyer. The world market for chia somewhat collapsed when there was a recall on US and Canadian organic chia. BEL-CAR’s chia is not organic.
*Extracted from http://www.cicilsiptic.org/about-us