Fast forward 5 to 10 years…
Through understanding the differences between industrial hemp and marijuana, Belizeans have learned the merits of a plant that has diverse and valuable uses. In fact, the world has embraced and acknowledged that hemp is one of our greatest agricultural gifts.
The success of introducing industrial hemp crops to the Belize agricultural landscape was the result of creating a vital and effective collaboration between the private sector and governing agencies working together to build economic and environmental benefits countrywide.
In the planning stages, experts were summoned to help provide the infrastructure to plant and process hemp as a new sustainable industry. Successful trials were conducted to determine which hemp seeds thrive in the tropics with 2 to 3 potential harvests per year.
Through collaborative efforts, a strong foundation was built to encourage opportunities to invest and develop the production and processing of industrial hemp in Belize.
One of Belize’s greatest exports is now industrial hemp and hemp products. These are surpassing exports of citrus, sugar, and bananas. The demand for hemp worldwide is increasing yearly with over 25,000 products being made from hemp -- including food for humans and animals, bio-fuels, building materials, plastic composites, and medicine.
With its first functioning multipurpose industrial hemp processing facility, the country has become a leader in the industrial hemp agro-industries of the Caribbean. This facility also provides training programs for farmers and production workers.
Farmers using industrial hemp as a rotation crop, no longer need expensive weed killers. Hemp, throughout farming history, has well served this purpose. Requiring little water compared to other crops, hemp is the most effective phytoremediation plant, cleaning soil contaminated from past agro-chemical over use and continues to provide nutrients to the soil to support other food crops.
Children whose undernourishment once hindered their abilities to learn and achieve, are receiving a highly nutritious morning porridge made with hemp seed and moringa -- a super food for body and brain health.
Belize is known for its high quality hemp oils for consumption and for use in other health care products with the potential for ever-increasing international markets.
Textile artisans are weaving with locally grown hemp making long-lasting clothing, bags, other textiles, and strong traditional baskets.
Carbon-negative hemp is being processed into building materials, providing families with beautiful, low cost, airtight, fire and pest resistant, mold-free, homes and is alleviating the devastation caused by deforestation for wood.
Since the Industrial hemp program was established, the lives of Belizean farmers, the population, and wildlife have greatly benefitted. As well, the environment, health and educational levels, standard of living, and the economy have also thrived. Belize has become greener, cleaner, healthier and wealthier, adding millions of dollars each year to the economy since the industrial hemp program began.
Friends of hempbelize.org