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GOB supporting Shrimp industry Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Friday, 07 April 2017 00:00

On Monday April 3, the Ministry with responsibility for Investment, Trade and Commerce met with the Shrimp Growers Association to discuss the challenges and production problems facing the shrimp industry.

Representing the Ministry was the Hon. Tracy T. Panton, her Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Amparo Masson, Mr. Lincoln Blake, Director of Policy and the Investment Unit at the Ministry, and other key personnel.

The team then did a working tour of Aqua Mar Belize Ltd, and Royal Mayan Shrimp Farm, where Mr. Michael Dunker, who has been in the industry for 20 years, and Mr. Alvin Henderson, an 18 year veteran, lead the delegation on a tour to conduct a first-hand observation of the emerging technology being implemented to restore Belize’s strong aquaculture industry.

While the ministry representatives did their tour, they got the opportunity to hear from the farmers directly and plan a path for the recovery of the industry. Over the space of two years the industry has been severely hit by a disease which kills shrimp at a very early stage of development. So severe has the industry been hit that in 2014 it was responsible for BZ 90 million dollars in export earnings which in 2016  dwindled to a mere BZ 10 million dollars.

Responding to the immediate needs of the farmers the ministry is helping them with recapitalization of their farms through EPZ extensions depending on their plans for recovery. Following Monday's meeting the ministry will also liaise with other governmental agencies and departments to secure an enabling environment for production efficiencies as well as to look for new opportunities for greater market access.

Shrimp farming in Belize and around the world, has run into considerable challenges in recent years. There are now many known ecological and environmental effects which was unknown a decade ago. With investments in new technology and a different studied approach, Belize is once again poised to become a contender in shrimp production.