BELMOPAN, Thurs. Sept. 2, 2021– Today, Hon. Michael Espat, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment, and Dr. Osmond Martinez, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Economic Development, met with members of the Banana Growers Association (BGA) to receive updates on the state of the banana industry. According to the Statistical Institute of Belize’s July 2021 report, banana earnings increased from BZ$5.3 million to BZ$6.1 million.
This meeting also provided members with a chance to discuss opportunities to secure financing for one of Belize’s most economically important export industries. Economist and contact person for the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Leroy Martinez, presented possible opportunities for financing from the GCF, as well as other international and regional funding agencies that can assist with climate change impacts and other identified needs.
A presentation was also made by Mr. Armando Aban, senior co-operative officer and contact person for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in the Ministry of Agriculture, who discussed FAO’s role in Belize. These include initiatives to eradicate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; as well as efforts to reduce rural poverty, protect livelihoods against natural disasters and bolster agriculture — making it more sustainable and effective. Mr. Aban further provided the group with opportunities for technical and financial assistance in the agricultural sector.
Today’s meeting was the result of a GCF readiness project that was recently launched to boost the capacity of Belize’s private sector. This latest project aims to make climate finance more accessible to private entities. It is managed by the government and the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, with the Caribbean Development Bank serving as the delivery partner.