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Drought brings strange citrus fruit

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Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2019. 6:28 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Chief Administrator at Citrus Products of Belize Limited (CPBL), Nikita Usher, who also chairs the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has a headache dealing with the ongoing drought affecting Belize’s agricultural belts in the North and South. Specifically, the oranges used to make juice and other products are literally not growing.

According to Usher, the numbers for the crop are the same as last year, but the toll of the drought on production will not be seen for another few months.

He explains that because the orange fruit does not have the nutrients it needs to grow, more is needed to fill the bag. The typical bag is 90 pounds or 150 fruits, but that will go up to about 225, reducing production.

The Statistical Institute of Belize reports that “in the first 7 months of 2019 earnings from citrus exports fell substantially by 30 percent or $16.8 million, from $55.8 million in 2018 to $39 million in 2019, due to decreased sales of orange concentrate and orange oil.”

 

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