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Citrus crop begins – dismal production expected as industry faces worst crop in 25 years

Posted: Friday, November 8, 2019. 2:35 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: The 2019-2020 Citrus Crop began a few days ago, and it is predicted that the crop will again be smaller than the previous year. Only grapefruit is being delivered this week to the Belize Food Products (BFP) plant as the Citrus Company of Belize (CCB) plant which was closed a few years ago, remain closed due to falling production in the industry. The BFP plant will receive grapefruit up to Friday, November 15, and then will reopen later in the year as the orange crop matures.

The crop officially opened on Wednesday, November 6, with the National Citrus Production Forecast, projecting a 7.2 percent decline in production overall.  Only 2.2 million boxes of oranges and grapefruit are expected to be produced this year, according to the forecast which is done each year by the Citrus Products of Belize. At 2.2 million boxes, this year’s production represents a mere quarter (or 28%) of what it was in the glory years, particularly in 2005, when citrus production peaked at 7.8 million boxes.

The forecast indicates that orange output will be reduced by 4.6 percent, falling from 2.161 million boxes in 2018-2019 to a projected 2.061 million boxes for this year. Grapefruit is expected to fall from 226,000 boxes in 2018 to a projected 153,000 boxes this year, a decline of 32.4 percent. Grapefruit production has fallen to a record low, and pales in comparison to the 1.7 million boxes produced in 2005.

The total estimated production of 2.2 million boxes for the 2019-2020 crop will be the worst citrus crop in the last 25 years.

It is no secret that the citrus industry is going through a lot of challenges in recent years. Falling production, citrus greening, infighting between the associations, lack of leadership in the industry, weak support from government and the Ministry of Agriculture, and now a struggling Citrus Growers Association (CGA) all are plaguing the industry.

The 2019-2020 Citrus Crop is expected to run up until May/June 2020.

 

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