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Screen_Shot_2015-02-26_at_7.56.41_PMA potential buyer visited and toured the Sugar Industry in Belize today. We are talking about Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Holding Incorporated which trades as Ben & Jerry’s.  The American company is based in Vermont, United States and operates internationally. The diary company is famous for their top shelf ice cream, which is not popular in Belize. Still, the company seems to have an interest in Belizean sugar, as the sweetener is an important component of their product. CEO Jostein Solheim is on vacation in Belize but has taken a day out to visit the industry.


Jostein Solheim – CEO, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream

“Sugar is a very important ingredient for us and we use a hundred percent Fair Trade sugar, including sugar from Belize.”

Dalila Ical – Reporter

“So this is a vacation but this one trip here is it business?”

Jostein Solheim – CEO, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream

“This is business to learn about the opportunities and challenges that is facing the Belize sugar industry.”

Dalila Ical – Reporter

“Are there any intentions to buy directly from Belize?”

Jostein Solheim – CEO, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream

“Yeah, as part of it was fortunate we were here and we had this opportunity to come and see and it is in the middle of the starting of the harvest so we are always looking for ways in which we can engage directly with communities and directly with farmers to improve livelihoods, so that is why we are evaluating and we are in the process of looking into the big ingredients and all of our big suppliers and say how can we really make a difference in the community and part of that will be in Belize.”

Dalila Ical – Reporter

“From what you have seen today what is your outlook what your view are?”

Jostein Solheim – CEO, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream

“I was very impressed that the global sugar industry is facing a lot of challenges, the European Union is changing it regulations and the US has it normal issues so I was very impressed that people are looking ahead and making very strategic plans, the industry is looking for rejuvenation in increasing yields, great environmental practices, there seems to be a willingness to invest both from the farmer and the millers so I am more positive than I expected and I feel that they are ahead of the game.”

Dalila Ical – Reporter

“So does that mean then that there are higher possibilities for the company you represent to start buying directly from Belize?”

Jostein Solheim – CEO, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream

“So Ben and Jerry’s is part of a global company that believes in sustainable sourcing and we will looking for partners, Associations, Cooperatives or farmers that are willing to embrace sustainable practices so I am very excited and I think there is going to be a good opportunity.”

International Relations representative Mac McLachlan says the opportunity is one which the company hopes to see more of and can only look forward for.

Mac McLachlan

“I think these visits are all part of building blocks of introducing what we do here in Belize which is creating excellent quality sugar to the people who would purchase that sugar for their own products outside of Belize in this case Ben and Jerry’s a big ice cream company in the US and Europe and I think it is important that people come and see the challenges that we had but also they see what we are trying to do together collectively as an industry because of course at the end of the day that is what going to encourage a better partnership with such companies and so we want to take every opportunity that we can to introduce companies to the farmers and to the industry on a whole and to try to encourage at the end of the day whatever increase in sales we can, not everybody understands the challenges we have in Belize but it is important for these major buyers of sugar around the world get to understand these challenges and ones they understand then there may be opportunities for them to help us.”

Following our interview with the group, the tour continued into several sugar cane fields.

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