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Guatemalan Delegation visit Belize to study Citrus Industry and Management of Citrus Greening

Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2024. 3:52 pm CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise is hosting a delegation from Guatemala.

The team is in Belize to gain comprehensive insights into Belize’s citrus industry, from nursery operations and field production to processing facilities. 

The primary focus of the visit is to understand how Belize has managed citrus greening and to evaluate the performance of new varieties of oranges and grapefruit.

The Ministry noted that the significant visit marks the first bilateral meeting hosted with the current Guatemalan government, reflecting a shared interest in agricultural development and collaboration. 

“Belize and Guatemala share similar topographical features, agricultural products, and cultural ties, making this exchange particularly valuable.

Belize’s Ministry of Agriculture has extended its support to the Guatemalan delegation, offering technical assistance and advice. Belize is uniquely positioned to provide this expertise, having established the only certified nursery in the region where clean seedling materials were imported from the United States and grown under controlled conditions. These seedlings are used as mother trees to combat citrus greening,” the Ministry explained.

Despite the widespread outbreak of citrus greening in Belize in 2008, which severely impacted the industry, there have been significant improvements.

 The Citrus Products of Belize Limited (CPBL) has reported receiving between 450,000 to 500,000 boxes of citrus this year, marking a notable increase compared to previous years. Furthermore, Belize has successfully exported between 40 to 50 containers of fresh fruit to CARICOM, demonstrating the resilience and recovery of the industry.

The introduction of new disease-resistant citrus varieties has also shown promising results. The new orange varieties planted are now entering production and exhibiting strong growth and resistance to citrus greening.

The Ministry says that the visit underscores the importance of regional cooperation in addressing agricultural challenges and enhancing food security. Belize’s advancements in managing citrus greening and developing disease-resistant citrus varieties serve as a valuable model for Guatemala and other countries facing similar issues.

 

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