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What lies ahead for Belize’s citrus industry ?

According to Citrus Products of Belize Limited, CPBL, the Citrus Greening Disease or Huanglongbing has severely affected the industry.  Last year’s production stood at 2.4 million boxes, while, in previous years when the industry was at its peak, production stood at 7.1 million boxes per year. Nikita Usher, the Chief Administration Manager at CPBL, told Love News that there is a plan to combat the disease.

Nikita Usher – Chief Administration Manager, CPBL- Farmers will have to do what is called a replant of the acreages of citrus and for the most part the replant would be recommended that you look at trees that are tolerant to the disease, not resistant just tolerant, and CPBL have been investing along with the Citrus Growing Association in ensuring that we have tolerant varieties that are available for replanting. We have a thousand acres prepared for planting and awaiting plants to go into the ground, those plants should be available to us and ready for putting in the ground as early as October/November. We have done just about 1,600 acres prior to this year and so those acreages to start to come into bearing as early as 2021. So production should start to see an increase from as early as 2020 but more so in 2021 and you should start to see a rebound to the citrus industry.”

The Citrus Greening Disease causes the citrus trees to produce fruits that are deformed, bitter and unfit for sale. Jamaica has also been affected by the disease.