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Bananas and citrus hurting but exports up to start 2023

Posted: Saturday, February 25, 2023. 9:40 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Two of Belize’s longest-standing industries are showing the effects of internal issues as the value of banana and citrus exports has gone down in January.

While total exports’ value rose by $4.4 million year over year, bananas fell markedly in the first month of the year, down by more than $3 million, from $5.7 million in January of 2022 to $2.4 million in January of 2023. Citrus exports dropped by almost $0.5 million, from $1.2 million to $0.8 million, owing mainly to decreased sales of orange concentrate.

Sugar exports rose by $2.5 million in value, while marine products’ value went up by $2.2 million, led mainly by increased exports of whole lobsters, lobster tails, and conch.

Animal feed exports went up by $1.5 million, from $3.7 million to $5.2 million. The ‘Other Exports’ category doubled, from $1.7 million to $3.5 million, due to improved exports of cattle, alcoholic beverages, and crude soybean oil during the month. Sales of black-eyed peas were up by $0.2 million, from $0.06 million to $0.2 million, while earnings from pepper sauces rose by a modest $0.1 million, from $0.3 million in January 2022 to $0.4 million in January 2023.

Earnings from crude petroleum declined from $0.1 million in January 2022 to $0.06 million in January 2023.

Where is Belize exporting to? Mexico and Central America are assuming the lead with increases in value of $1.3 million and $1.1 million, due to increased exports of cattle and crude soybean oil to the former and animal feed to the latter, mainly Guatemala.

The European Union paid more than $900,000 in exports of sugar, from $3.6 million in January 2022 to $4.5 million in January 2023.

Export earnings from ‘Other Countries’ increased noticeably, from just below $0.5 million to $1.9 million, owing to better sales of lobster products, mainly to Taiwan and Australia. On the other hand, with decreased exports of bananas during the month, revenues from the United Kingdom declined from almost $5 million in January of last year to $4.1 million in January of this year.


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