Government to Conduct Research to Support Belize Citrus Industry
Prime Minister John Briceno plans to conduct more research to help the citrus industry. In May, the Belize Citrus Industry alluded that they are making efforts to strengthen the industry; however, with a little help from the government, they are guaranteeing the future of the industry. There was a decline in production due to the effects of the HLP Disease, climate change and a collapse of migrant labor as a result of Covid 19. This week Cabinet did discuss the idea of further research into the industry.
John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “And just yesterday we spoke in Cabinet at length the issue of research and development, investing in science and technology and the citrus industry is a good example. In around 2007 Belize was producing eight million boxes of citrus, Costa Rica was producing eight million boxes of citrus. Today we produce less than a million right ? Five hundred thousand, from eight million to five hundred thousand because of Citrus Greening. Costa Rica, who had the Citrus Greening just like us they’re producing twelve million boxes. The difference is that their government invested in research and development to see how they could combat Citrus Greening. Our previous government they cut that budget to zero, to one dollar imagine. Our chief economist – senior economist and advisor in my office Dr.Avila said if the government had been investing one million dollars a year in research and development for the citrus industry back then we would be getting a return of a hundred million dollars.”
Minister Briceno believes that with some investment and planning, the industry can increase its production. The Citrus industry has served Belize for more than 100 years and they believe that with help from the government, they are guaranteeing the future of the industry for another 100 years and beyond.