Saturday, July 9, 2011

CITRUS GROWERS ASSOCIATION to re-evaluate their management team in meeting this week.

( from LOVE FM )

July 08, 2011

The Citrus Growers Association will be hosting a special general meeting next week. Chief Executive Officer Henry Anderson says the meeting was called by some growers to remove members of the Committee of Management which is currently being chaired by Eccleston Erving.

Henry Anderson – CEO, Citrus Growers Association
“This meeting came from a request from some growers who want the meeting to be called for the membership to consider a resolution to remove the current Committee of Management of the CGA, the Board of Directors and if that is successful then to elect new Committee of Management members. Some of the issues they mentioned, the people calling the meeting were that the CGA Investment Company did not take measures necessary to get CPBL to access $10 million worth of funding from the Government of Belize which is not true, but that is what was put there. There was a suggestion that the CGA has not shared its 2010 financial statements; the audited financial statements are given out at the annual general meeting where the growers review those. The annual general meeting will be called in the next month or so. Another reason that was given was that certain growers had left the CGA because of the fighting within the industry. The reality of that situation, those growers who created the Belize Citrus Mutual resigned from the CGA a few days after the 2009 annual general meeting, the new board at that point had not even met yet and those growers namely Mr. William Bowman, Henry Canton, Michael Duncker and Ernest Raymond started a company called Belize Citrus Mutual as a rival association. The issue that they had was that they did not want to continue the time honoured tradition of the CGA which calls for when a decision is being made in a general meeting it is one grower, one vote. They wanted to vote by production so essentially the larger growers would tell the growers who have smaller production how things would work. That was the genesis of that issue. Those are the reasons they have called the meeting.”

Anderson says one of the items that will be looked at is an update on the fruit prices.

Henry Anderson – CEO, Citrus Growers Association
“The fruit price right now is at about 12.51 per box, the growers just got a payment of 39 cents per pound solid. Although growers don’t get paid by box on the average that payment worked out to growers getting six pound solids per box would work out to about $2.40.

Maria Novelo - Reporter
There seems to be a limited amount of oranges on the local market.

Henry Anderson – CEO, Citrus Growers Association
“It’s just the season with how the crop works. The first crop is on the tree and there is a bloom going on in this period of time that will start a second crop. We expect in October that the grapefruit crop would start. Because of the hurricane there might be an abnormal grapefruit crop that may become due at the end of this month or more in August and then in October the processing season starts with grapefruit and some early oranges and when you get up closer to November, January then the Valencia really come into play at that time.”

The meeting will be held at the CGA compound at mile nine on the Stann Creek Valley Road on Friday July 15th beginning at 9:30 am.



In essence, large growers have divided from smaller growers, and in their newer association they manage their affairs based on votes like in a company, by the number of shares you have. The number of shares is dictated by how much fruit ( as in boxes ) you produce. So VOTING is based on production.
The older Citrus Growers Association want a cooperative style organization, though they have not yet formed themselves into a cooperative. As small growers they want ONE MAN - one vote.

The way you vote depends on whether you are a company or a cooperative. Though I believe CGA is an ASSOCIATION not a cooperative, while Belize Mutual, the larger growers is run on the style of a company. What it is, a company or association I do not know?

There is a behind the scenes struggle for the control of the 51% shares ownership in the citrus factory, controlled by the investors from Trinidad, by clauses in the managment agreement, who built it with their money. At the moment the older CGA own those 51% shares in the factory. Yet the obligation on those shares was actually made by the large growers, who have since decided to start their own growing business. Debts have been incurred and these belong to the CGA. If they were to be assigned on the basis one man, one vote, the large growers would reap the debts, but not the dividends. Whereas in a company setup on production, those growers would get a relief from debts they cannot control, constantly created by the small growers based on their majority votes, using the one man, one vote rule.

What the small growers in the CGA want, under their current managment, is to circumvent the ownership agreement which lets the Trinidad investors of the factory control the factory affairs as a seperate business. Working to a profit motive. Not a debt ridden cooperative method. This current CGA managment want control of the Board of Directors of the citrus factory, not yet available to them under the managment agreement they signed for getting the factory. If they get control, they promise castles in the sky and riches galore to the small growers as in piling on debts on the factory, which currently is a successful business, seperate from the growers. They would run the factory and the growers as a cooperative, based on one man-one vote and control everything for the benefit of the small growers. Debts for social programs would be the order of the day, at the expense of the profitability of the citrus factory. History of the citrus industry shows this method has bankrupted every attempt to run the citrus industry in the past. The larger growers in their newer Citrus Mutual are defending their delivery and price capability at the independently controlled FACTORY, to ensure they do not bankrupt the citrus industry again. The CGA group want to ride the success of the citrus factory and siphon off the profits for their own welfare benefit.
The Government of Belize has given GRANTS to the CGA managment for the benefit of small citrus growers when they yell in distress. There are a lot of votes there. Unfortunately current CGA managment has wasted the GRANTS on frivilous lawsuits, salary perks and expenses, instead of helping organize small growers in fertilizing and clearing, or fighting citrus greening, the latest in a constant battle of diseases, growing citrus. The meeting called for this week, is about whether to remove this managment and go with a new team. The current CGA management committee are scared they will lose their jobs, income flows and perks that come with it. They are lobbying intensely to protect their job status. It will be interesting to see how it works out.

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