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Belize cotton growers get Japanese grant

Japan has given a grant to help the cotton industry in Belize. The grant would be used to purchase high clearance tractors and planters. Japan will share its extensive knowledge of processing methods by providing machinery to harvest high quality cotton.

Japan hopes to rejuvenate and expand the production of sea island cotton in Belize. The demand for sea island cotton in Japan is far greater than the world can supply. Because of ideal weather conditions and soil quality, Belize has the potential to become a leading cotton producer in the world. Expanding the industry would be beneficial to the local economy, not just in terms of contributing to the country’s exports, but also because the harvesting of cotton must be done by hand so as not to damage the fibers.

This will create more employment opportunities for local communities. A typical cotton field would need between 150 to 200 cotton pickers and workers can flexibly choose the days they wish to work. Over the past year since the start of the project the harvesters have been primarily women.

Since last year more than 1000 pounds of dried cotton have been received and this year local producers are hoping to produce more than 30,000 pounds of dried cotton worth some 1,60,000 dollars.