Posted: Friday, June 24, 2022. 3:02 pm CST.
Photo Credit: MAFSE
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Belize produces 60% of its food and imports the other 40%, says the extensive Belize Food Systems Profile presented on Wednesday by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise (MAFSE) the profile should help Belize transform its food systems using its evidence-based and extensive assessment completed earlier this year.
“The profile is expected to be an impactful steppingstone for the transformation of Belize’s food system towards a more inclusive and sustainable path,” said MAFSE in a press release.
‘The Belize Food Systems Profile: Catalysing the Sustainable and Inclusive Transformation of Food Systems’ document was officially handed over to the Government of Belize on Wednesday, June 22, at a ceremony at the Yo Creek Agriculture Station. Agriculture Minister Joe Abelardo Mai received the document from Dr Crispim Moreira, the Country Representative for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
“The revealing information from the assessment sets the pace for us to focus on what we need to do over the coming years,” Minister Mai said.
One of the findings Mai found revealing was the fact that Belize imports 40% of its food. Mai pointed out that while the COVID-19 pandemic had a huge adverse impact on the country, the agriculture sector rebounded with a 24% increase in production. This rebound, he said, “contributed to marked improvements in GDP in one year. Despite this, the food systems profile shows that there is still much more to be done”.
According to MAFSE, the Food System Profile-Belize “highlights several issues with food systems in Belize, such as the fact that despite our being able to produce 60% of our food, some sectors of the population still undergo food insecurity”.
Dr. Moreira said the food systems profile can be used to boost investment to transform the country’s food systems. The FAO representative said the challenges countries faced in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals were linked to the food system. He said that if Belize manages to transform the country’s food systems it could positively impact other areas of life.
Minister Mai said the food system cuts across different ministries and departments and everybody must play their role. His Ministry’s press release said the Food Systems Profile will be used to enable more resilient and sustainable food systems development in Belize.
MAFSE said the Food Systems Profile was completed after months of extensive research, interviews, and consultations with various stakeholders across different sectors in Belize. According to Moreira, Belize is one of 50 countries in the world that has completed the Food Systems
The study was funded through a partnership with the European Union (EU), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD). Development of the assessment was also supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise, and the National Food and Nutrition Security Commission supported the development of the food assessment.
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