A meeting was held on Monday, July 10th 2017 at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Agriculture between the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Godwin Hulse, along with his executive team and representatives of the Citrus Growers Association and Belize Citrus Mutual. The meeting was as the 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 2016 – 2017 crop year.
The following points were agreed to at the meeting:
The Ministry agreed to work with both associations and processor to develop a strategic plan for the industry with an aim to increase production by planting 5m citrus trees in 5 years and transforming the industry to take advantage of the local, regional and global marketplace for juice blends.
The Ministry of Agriculture will collaborate with the Ministries of Labour and Immigration to put in place the required framework to implement a farm workers program to ensure the timely supply of labour needed from neighboring countries to complement the local labour force.
With the coordination of the Ministry of Agriculture, both Associations will collaborate with their respective membership and the Departments of Labour and Immigration to provide an estimate of number of workers needed and to report the movement of foreign agriculture farm workers.
All parties agreed that the four pronged approach to control HLB is the best strategy available at this time given the available science and reaffirmed their commitment to educate Growers, implement the four pronged approach and regulate as necessary. The four pronged approach refers to (i) the control of the Asian Citrus Psyllid vector that spreads HLB, (ii) the planting of only certified citrus trees, (iii) the removal of sick uneconomic trees and (iv)the implementation of a robust nutrition programme.
That Belize Agriculture Health Authority (BAHA) will strengthen its efforts to eliminate illegal citrus nurseries and the planting of illegal plants. To this end, the Ministry will assist BAHA in getting the requisite legal framework in place to strengthen BAHA’s ability to enforce. Planting non-certified citrus plants poses a high risk to spread diseases in the industry.
The Ministry will collaborate with the industry to attract additional capital to the industry to ensure the replanting of the aged tree stock over the next decade to increase production to 8m boxes and push the production of other fruits types that are identified for juicing like the MD2 Pineapple.
The Minister will meet with the Board of Directors of Citrus Products of Belize Ltd (CPBL) to engage CPBL in the dialogue on the way forward to transform 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.
Citrus Products of Belize Limited cordially invites all Citrus Growers to an end of crop year meeting to be held at CCB Compound on Saturday, August 29th 2015 at 9:30 a.m. This meeting has been planned to update growers on the operations of CPBL and Groups of Companies. The new Board of CPBL wants to ensure that CPBL becomes more grower friendly and this meeting is a first step towards that direction.
Transportation will be provided for growers to attend the meeting. There will be buses from the different areas similarly to what CGA does for their AGM's. You will also be receiving a copy of this notice and feedback on time buses will leave the different locations.
Thanks for your kind attention to this request and we look forward to seeing you on Saturday.
Grapefruit Revised Submission and Second Payment Notice
The CGA received the second submission for Grapefruit yesterday evening March 25, 2015. The new Estimated Final Price for Grapefruit is $2.5210 per pound solid ($10.3360 per box) or $0.0717 less than the first Fruit Price Submission of $2.5927 per pound solid. The CGA will signal its provisional acceptance to this submission to CPBL pending review so as to ensure Growers get their payments on time.
-$/Per box calculations utilize an average yield of 4.1 P.Solids/box.
The cheques for Grapefruit second payment on deliveries up to March 24, 2015 shall be available for pick up by 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday April 1, 2015.
The Citrus Growers Association (CGA) - Citrus Research and Education Institute (CREI), under the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) Technical Assistance for the regional management of Huanglongbing (HLB) in Latin America and the Caribbean, is conducting a Technical Internship on Regional Management of Citrus Greening for professional from various Caribbean countries commencing on the 25th through the 27th of March, 2015 at the Citrus Growers Association Office Complex situated at mile 9 1/2 Stann Creek Valley Road.
The main objective of this forum is to share the work CREI is doing in Belize in an effort to contribute to the sustainability of the citrus production in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) for the benefit of the agriculture sector especially in areas of high vulnerability to the HLB disease. Participants will learn hands-on and practical techniques and strategies related to regional management of HLB including the various laboratory and field components of the four pronged HLB management program. Topics will include the Area-wide Integrated Management System (AIMS) to control the vector of HLB (D. citri) in commercial citrus groves, Biological control through the use of a Tamarixia wasp and fungal pathogens to control the vector of HLB in backyard and abandoned groves, Laboratory diagnosis of HLB, the Belize Citrus Certification Programme as a tool to manage HLB and the use of Shoot Tip Grafting (STG) technology to remove pathogens from citrus germplasm materials.