Belize has a bumper crop of both red-kidney beans and black-eye. Our CARICOM market gives a price advantage of an import duty from non- caricom countries of 40%. As usual, just before the Belize crop is ready for market, CARICOM is flooded with USA beans. Hence, no market unless we sell at below cost. USA beans are produced by subsidized USA farmers, against whom Belizean farmers have no chance to compete. USA policy is to maintain their own food supply for reasons of national security. Good for them. BUT, we must also do the same, and as long as our inputs are taxed to provide needed GOB revenue, we will be unable to compete. Hence, protected markets are required.
In an open market, with no subsidies and no taxation on inputs, we can compete with anyone.
As regards the corn flour, the consumer has reacted to the imposition of the inferior product by switching to corn, or buying the smuggled brands at almost double what they were paying for our own local brand.
a) Free trade with the USA is a one way street, a myth of US protectionism! Due to US agricultural subsidies!
b) Agriculture materials in Belize are often imported and taxed to produce modern farm style production. Which means our own Belizean government is killing our own Belizean agricultural export potential.
c) Good intentions of academic intellectuals in the Belize Government, when they denied corn flour export licenses to local producer/Caricom exporters went awry! The potential export corn crop has been lost for over three years of production and is now dead. Farmers now seeking alternative crops.