Moving on to another burning issue in the agricultural sector, Minister Mai has declared that the citrus industry is facing collapse and could possibly see its demise in October if swift action is not taken.
Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise: “Citrus was I think the third largest foreign exchange earning back in the day, this is 2008 and before. To be honest and to be blunt and not to be political but really objectively is that the previous government just abandoned the citrus growers, the citrus industry. I mean there was infight, there was disease and nobody did anything to try to correct the situation. Today it is in a very precarious situation. Absolutely citrus is in the ICU. If we do not do something for citrus by October there will be no citrus industry. We were expecting a crop of 2.5 million boxes and we barely reached 1.3 million boxes.”
Rene Villanueva, Host, The Morning Show: But why Minister ? Is it because of disease ?
Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise: “A number of things. Primarily there was infighting. After that ended bitterly, well during the same time parallel to that was the bad administration management, three is that our trees are old, four we had disease citrus greening which has devastated the industry. Our high cost of production costs kept going up, a number of things but mainly citrus greening has really really hurt the industry to a point where we might not be able to bring it back if we don’t take drastic action and I mean drastic action.”
Later in our newscast we will tell you more on the shrimp industry and new areas of agriculture that the government is pursuing.