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Dec 21, 2016

Citrus Crop Underway after Earl-related Delay

The 2016-2017 citrus season is behind schedule due to impacts from Hurricane Earl in August. Millions of dollars in damages was suffered by growers of grapefruit and orange, the former in particular. However, after a delay, the season is picking up with grapefruit deliveries underway and orange set to join in as well in the New Year. Citrus Products of Belize Limited has also resolved its capital issues with the Central Bank and Heritage Bank after a delay earlier this year caused growers to have to wait for their payments.

 

Henry Anderson

Henry Anderson, C.E.O., Citrus Growers Association

“Hurricane Earl took down quite a bit of the grapefruit, so basically, they have done about a little over a week’s processing of grapefruit; they did last week, and about two weeks ago they took some in. The earlier grapefruits were lost due to the hurricane. We expect that around mid-January, the factory should be scaling up in terms of processing when we get back, in terms of grapefruits, and depending on the maturity samples that are being done for oranges, in terms of oranges as well. Earlier this year you know there was a challenge; Heritage Bank had approved a loan for CPBL but required Central Bank approval to disburse and that was delayed; I will tell you that CPBL got the facility and paid it back within time – in other words, it wasn’t an issue of ability to pay. If I may, the Board of CPBL has already approved that CPBL take steps to get the facility in place and that work is underway; we would not expect to have any undue delays – I think that was just a situation that happened last year into early this year, but I would expect that everything would be in place.”

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