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On Monday the Citrus Growers’ Association met with the Minister of Agriculture Godwin Hulse and other officials to discuss the performance from both the Belize Citrus Mutual group and the Citrus Growers Association for the 2016-2017 citrus crop season. The three stakeholders also discussed the managing of the Huanglongbing (HLB) disease, issues facing the citrus industry such as labour and access to capital and the need to develop a strategic plan for the industry. For the 2016-2017 citrus season, three point two million boxes of oranges were produced- a decline from the three point two five million boxes produced during the previous season. Attributing to the decline are the effects of Hurricane Earl which accounted for an estimated loss of five hundred and sixty nine thousand boxes of oranges. However, it was noted during the meeting that for the new season it is expected to be an increase in production. The increase is expected to be as a result of the two thousand acres of citrus planted three years ago which by 2018 should be ready for production. At the end of the meeting, the Ministry of Agriculture agreed that it will work with both associations and processor to develop a strategic plan for the industry with an aim to increase production by planting five meter citrus trees in five years and transforming the industry to take advantage of the local, regional and global marketplace for juice blends.

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