Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2017. 1:45 p.m. CST.
By BBN Staff: On Monday, July 10th, 2017, a meeting was held at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Agriculture between the Minister of Agriculture, Godwin Hulse, along with his executive team and representatives of the Citrus Growers Association and Belize Citrus Mutual.
The meeting was as a result of a joint request of the Citrus Growers Association and the Belize Citrus Mutual.
The purpose of the meeting was to apprise the officials of the Ministry on the ongoing collaboration between the Belize Citrus Mutual and the Citrus Growers Association, to discuss the performance of the 2016 – 2017 crop, the progress being made in managing the Huanglongbing (HLB) disease, the issues facing the industry such as labour and access to affordable capital, and the need to develop a strategic plan for the industry.
The meeting discussed the outturn of the 2016 – 2017 crop, noting that despite Hurricane Earl which accounted for an estimated loss of 569k boxes of orange, the industry produced 3.2m boxes of oranges in 2016 – 2017 as compared to 3.25m boxes of orange in the 2015 – 2016 crop year. It was noted that the decline in production has plateaued and there should be an increase in 2017 – 2018 because approximately 2,000 acres planted three years ago will also start to come into production.
When compared to Florida’s trend in production, the trend in production in Belize is encouraging as Florida experienced a fall from 81m boxes of oranges in 2015 – 2016 to an estimated 68.5m in the 2016 – 2017 crop year.
The following points were agreed to at the meeting:
getting the requisite legal framework in place to strengthen BAHA’s ability to enforce. Planting noncertified citrus plants
poses a high risk to spread diseases in the industry.
The Minister and his team applauded the continued efforts of both the CGA and BCM in collaborating for the best interest of the industry and for reaffirming the agreement to a scientifically sound and unified approach to managing HLB, the four-pronged approach. The Minister pledged to work closely with both associations and CPBL to provide the regulatory support, technical assistance and leadership required to foster an environment necessary for the industry to rebound.
The representatives of both associations thanked the Minister and his team for the commitments made during the meeting and pledged to continue their collaboration and work to increase production and transform the industry to take advantage of the opportunities in the global marketplace.
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