Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building (test)

Plant breeding programs in Belize

Geographical Situation of BelizeBelize is a very small country open to the Caribbean Sea. Its economy is primarily driven by the agricultural and tourism sectors. Exports are dominated by primary commodities mainly sugar, banana, citrus and fisheries products. Domestic agriculture on the other hand, includes rice, maize, beans, root crops, vegetables, poultry, beef and pigs.

Plant breeding activities in Belize began more than 30 years ago and are actually carried out by both public and private organizations. They are serviced mostly by graduate professionals; however, there are neither specialist plant breeders attached to any of the programmes nor personnel with competence or training in biotechnology except for the University of Belize. However, no biotechnology activities are carried out in the University.

The main breeding programmes are based on citrus, coconut, oilseeds and soya. With the exception of coconuts in which only one cross was made, the remaining work is conducted as the evaluation of fixed lines and varieties. There is no work conducted in the areas of making crosses, evaluating segregating populations or evaluating fixed lines developed by the breeding programmes. This may be due to the qualifications of the personnel who are either agronomists or first degreed persons.

Based on the previous discussion, the most limiting aspect of a successful breeding programme is the inadequate number of breeders for each crop followed by an inadequate knowledge level of the general plant breeding strategies. The national capacity firstly needs to develop a national team to undertake plant breeding work.

Research and education institutes with activities in plant breeding

Public Institutes

Minsitry of Agriculture and Fisheries

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries of Belize (MOAF)
Website available in English

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MOAF) is a public sector organization and its Plant Breeding Section was established in 1985. Agronomists in MOAF conduct evaluation of varieties and hybrid coconut seedlings production. The MOAF has not undertaken any biotechnology research.

University of Belize

University of Belize
Website available in English

The University of Belize is a national, autonomous and multi-location institution committed to excellence in higher education, research and service for national development. As a catalyst of change it provides relevant, affordable and accessible educational and training programs. The plant breeding and biotechnology work in Belize is limited to a small tissue culture laboratory used mainly for teaching.

Private Institutes

CARDI Belize

Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI)
Website available in English

CARDI - Belize specializes in research and development on cereals and grain legumes, mainly corn, soybean, peanut, red peas and cowpeas. Additionally, CARDI Belize is involved in the production of nucleus and commercial seeds of hot peppers. It also maintains and manages germplasm banks of the cereals and grain legumes, as well as vegetables that can be accessed by the Region to aide in the recovery of food production after natural disaster (Sinha, 2008).

CGA Belize

Belize Citrus Growers Association
Website available in English

The citrus industry is the most significant agro-industry in Belize. The research work in Belize is conducted by the Citrus Research & Education Institute (CREI). CREI's role in this process is to facilitate the sharing of information, working with growers to compare, contrast and document grove management techniques, techniques that grower experiences have shown really work under Belize conditions.


Information by Azim Hosein (2009) - Information based on the Belize's full report from the PBBC survey.
Last revised 31-07-2009, GIPB