Wednesday, February 24, 2010


by Ray Auxillou

While the new citrus factory improvements are good news for international exports of citrus products from Belize, the new factory is going to have an effect on people who are small players with citrus trees.
Consolidation is the end result of a fixed reliable market for citrus fruit. With the new factory and a value added end product, the industry will no longer be a slave to WORLD fluctuating prices. There is going to be a steady income and dividends in the future and citrus as a business in Belize is going to go from being a lackadaisical enterprise that does not pay 6 years out of 7 years, to one that pays a steady income pay cheque stream, every year.
Small growers who only dabbled with citrus trees as a sideline hobby, and not their main income in life are probably going to sell out. Those that mortgaged their small orchids will undoubtedly get foreclosed and sold off at auction. Consolidation will be the rule as the citrus product business steadies down to a regular business and cash flow. Reliability will change everything.
As fast as land can be found to purchase, new citrus orchids are bound to be invested in. A much longer 8 year process. The business is going to grow and to support the factory, the business and production of fresh fruit has to grow.
One idea is to use CITRUS which is now a very good investment for the future, to solve other international and Belize government problems. I refer to the border with Guatemala.
It would be a logical idea for the government to authorize a half mile wide strip to go to leasing, to investors in citrus along the border line, all along the Toledo, Chiquibul and Vaca plateau area, all the way up to the TWIN TOWNS.
Not to take away anything from the notion of National Parks and forest reserves and protection of wildlife. But the strip along our Western Border is already heavily agriculture in illegal milpas by Guatemalans. A strip of land a half mile along the frontier, including the adjacency zone, sold off in leases, for citrus orchids would provide the needed fencing at private sector expense, to keep bandit and illegal immigrant incursions at a minimum. The private sector would do what the government could not afford to do. With accurate GPS for surveys, the border line could be surveyed and half mile wide 150 acre land plots leased out to investors in citrus along the frontier. Lease convertible to Land Title upon successful bearing citrus trees. You are probably looking at a 20 to 50 year program here in investment in further citrus production. The citrus belt would automatically fence the frontier border on the West. Private Sector investors, would have their own horseback patrols protecting their citrus groves and incursions into the nature reserves of our parks and forests would be stopped.
Thanks to the new factory, citrus is now a good investment and probably 15 years from now, another new citrus factory would be needed somewhere around the Vaca Plateau, CARACOL area?
Lets use some common sense and protect our Natural Forest Reserves, by utilizing the frontier swath of land with investment to pay for border protection. Whats a half mile wide strip of land in the greater picture here?

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