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Efforts underway in citrus industry to combat greening disease

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Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2019. 5:25 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: Citrus producers in Belize are implementing measures to combat the Citrus Greening Disease or Huanglongbing, which has devastated the industry over the past year.

The disease causes infected trees to produce fruits that are unfit for sale because they are deformed and bitter. Chief Administration Manager at Citrus Products of Belize Limited, CPBL, Nikita Usher, explained that farmers will have to “replant” acres of trees as a means of combatting the disease.

Usher said that CBPL recommends that farmers look for trees that are”tolerant” to the disease as part of the efforts.

“CPBL has been investing along with the Citrus Growing Association in ensuring that we have tolerant varieties that are available for replanting. We have a thousand acres prepared for planting and
awaiting plants to go into the ground, those plants should be available to us and ready for putting in the ground as early as October/November,” Usher said.

He noted that around 1,600 acres worth of trees were replanted last year and that the industry should see those trees bearing by next year or early 2021.

Last year, the disease reduced the production of saleable fruit by almost 5 million boxes. CPBL explained that peak production in previous years averaged around 7.1 million boxes for the year, but
that 2018’s output stood at some 2.4 million.

 

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