belizeBelize is located on the north eastern coast of Central America, and is the only country in the region with English as official language although Kriol and Spanish are commonly spoken. The population is 333,200 (2010), with the lowest population density in the region but with the highest growth rate of 2.21 percent (2008). Belmopan is the capital. The country is divided into six administrative districts, which are further divided into 31 constituencies.

Context

Context

Belize has tropical climate, with about 60 percent of its land covered by forests. Agriculture is vital for country’s economy as it employs over one-third of country’s labor force. Sugar is the largest agricultural export, other exports being bananas, citrus fruits, fish product, molasses and wood. Although 38 percent of the land area is considered potentially agricultural, only 10 to 15 percent is in use in any one year, and half of which remains under pastures.

Most farmers are small. In the past, the government financing has favored large, export-oriented farms. The traditional system of shifting cultivation (milpa) is gradually being replaced by permanent use of land by farmers. 

Key Statistics and Indicators

Indicator

Value

Year  

Agricultural land (sq km)

Agricultural land (% of land area)

Arable land (hectares)

Arable land (% of land area)

Arable land (hectares per person)

1520

6.66

70000

3.06

0.21

2009

2009

2009

2009

2009

Fertilizer consumption (per hectare of arable land)

129.77

2009

Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)

Food production index (2004-2006 = 100)

Food exports (% of merchandise exports)

Food imports (% of merchandise imports)

12.17

88

60.86

16.53

2008

2009

2010

2010

GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)

3810

2010

Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)

Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24)

Literacy rate, youth male (% of males ages 15-24)

Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24)

Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%)

70.30

76.7

76.1

100.74

97.70

1991

1991

2010

Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)

Internet users (per 100 people)

194201

43627.78

2010

2010

Population, total

Population density (people per sq. km of land area)

Rural population*

Rural population (% of total population)*

Agricultural population (% of total population)*

Total economically active population**

Total economically active population in agriculture*

Total economically active population in agriculture (in %

    of total economically active population)

Female economically active population in agriculture (% of

     total economically active population in agriculture)*

344700

15.12

149000

43.22

21.75

144868

31000

21.39

0.69

2010

2010

2010

2010

2010

2010

2010

2010

2010

Sources: The World Bank; *Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO

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Acknowledgements

  • Authored by M. Kalim Qamar (June 2012)
  • Edited by Burt E. Swanson
  • Latest information on extension organization and staff provided by Ricardo R. Thompson, until recently the National Extension Coordinator of Belize

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