Belize’s cacao and chocolate industry was highlighted at the inaugural Belgian edition of the International Day of Cacao and Chocolate in Brussels, Belgium on October 1, 2017. The Embassy of Belize in Brussels and the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) joined forces to represent Belize at the event in the center of Brussels, long acknowledged as a chocolate capital of the world.
In addition to a successful booth showcasing a variety of Belize’s cacao and chocolate products, a special presentation on the trade and investment potential of Belize’s cacao industry was made by the Ambassador of Belize to Belgium, H.E. Dylan Vernon, and BelizeINVEST Manager of Investment Generation at BELTRAIDE, Mr. Hero Balani.
The purpose of the day was to bring together cacao growers and chocolatiers to share experiences and ideas on how these key actors can work closer together in the cacao value chain. Hundreds of chocolatiers, cacao importers, and chocolate aficionados attended the event, as did Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders.
The guests had the opportunity to view booths and attend presentations on a range of themes, including the bean-to-bar concept, environmental aspects of cacao cultivation, the health benefits of chocolate, and investment possibilities in producer countries. Apart from Belize, six other countries, mostly from Central America, showcased booths.
Belize’s featured participation in this event was as a direct result of its first promotional presentation held at the Embassy in Brussels back in March of this year. The Embassy of Belize and BELTRAIDE continue to work towards promoting Belize’s cacao industry throughout Europe. In this regard, a trade mission from Belgium to Belize is being planned for 2018.
While in Brussels, Mr. Balani also held a Business Roundtable with members of the European-Central America Chamber of Commerce (EURACEN), and informational meetings with officials of the European Commission (EC), and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) Secretariat.