Tuesday, November 16, 2010


citrus growers meet


Hurricane Richard has swept 80 per cent of Belize’s grapefruit crop from the trees.

Winds of up to 90mph gusted as the hurricane made landfall on 25 October. Henry Anderson, ceo of the Belize Citrus Growers Association (CGA), said: “The hurricane hit the heart of the grapefruit production area. About 80 per cent of the grapefruit crop was blown off the trees.

“We did salvage some of it with about 96,000 boxes taken to processing. We do very little product for fresh market exports and most is processing now. Prices this year have been high and we have no damage to processing capacity so we are hoping to make the most of that for the fruit that has been salvaged.”

The orange crop in the Central American nation was less affected as it is grown in a different part of the country, Anderson explained. “We lost about 25 per cent of the orange crop,” he said. “About 10,000 boxes of early varieties have been salvaged but most of what we grow is Valencia, which is later.”

The CGA reports that this year’s disaster, however, will provide opportunity in future seasons if the correct action is taken now. “Because of the stress that the hurricane has put trees under, with proper fertilisation, growers could get a better crop next year,” said Anderson.

Producers in Belize have access to some small emergency and revolving funds that the CGA administers and is using to get the appropriate inputs to those that qualify. It is also distributing 125 humanitarian grants to 400 people in the grower community.

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