Compete Caribbean continues furthering its support to the Belize Shrimp Cluster and will provide support to develop a Cluster Development Plan (CDP), which will help the sector improve competitiveness and define strategy. The project will focus on establishing a Bio-security Aquaculture Zone Management Plan (BAZMP) in Belize.
In collaboration with BELTRAIDE and the Belize Shrimp Growers Association (BSGA), a Compete Caribbean mission visited Belize to meet with key cluster stakeholders and regulatory agencies to present the cluster strategy and the project.
The development of a BAZMP in Belize is important to minimize the risk of introducing an infectious disease into to the shrimp farms and also to avoid that infectious agents spread to other sites and to other susceptible species. Sound bio-security practices are good for business because their cost can be low compared to the expected benefits on productivity and product quality. This is particularly the case when serious diseases can be excluded from your farm or eradicated from it if they occur.
Through previous Compete Caribbean support, the Belize shrimp cluster received training and capacity that allowed them to successfully obtain the Aquaculture Steward Council (ASC) certification, which ensures environmentally and socially responsible production of farmed shrimp. This certification has enabled the cluster to access premium markets where high value is placed on environmental and social sustainability (e.g. U.S.A, Canada).
Other results achieved include an increase in the total value of the cluster’s exports from $20million to $45million and a 101% percent increase in annual sales directly attributed to the ASC certification, employees saw their annual incomes grow by 46% and 170 new jobs were generated, of which approximately one third went to women, including senior management positions.