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Apr 18, 2018

C.G.A. Fighting to Save Plant World Nursery from Receivership

There is mounting trouble in the citrus industry in the south. Already facing a significant decline in production, down to three million boxes, the news tonight is that the Citrus Growers Association is in deep financial trouble. Faced with a five million dollar debt which it has been unable to pay for its plant nursery programme, the Atlantic Bank is set to foreclose on the nursery so that other than a rebound, the CGA is plunging into a deeper financial hold.  As a solution, the CGA is trying to float a bond through the Legacy Fund for eight and a half million dollars.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Citrus is a delicate business and, despite its place as the second largest agriculture industry in Belize, remains in dire straits.  Farmers, both large and small, are deeply invested in this area of the agro-productive sector and they are, for the most part, represented by the Citrus Growers Association.  The CGA, however, is indebted to the tune of almost five million dollars for a pair of loans with the Atlantic Bank Limited.  News Five understands that of the amount borrowed, one point seven million dollars was reportedly used to establish Plant World Nursery, a garden center that would provide various plants aside from citrus.

 

Veronica Manzanero

Veronica Manzanero, Research and Extension Director, CREI

“Plant World is one of the seventeen nurseries that is currently registered under the Belize Citrus Certification Program which is a program in the industry that ensures that citrus nurseries provide only clean certified disease-free plants to the industry.  And so it is the largest nursery, it has the ability to produce between three hundred and fifty to four hundred thousand plants per year and it is located on the Red Bank Road, just at the junction of Red Bank and the Southern Highway.”

 

Henry Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, CGA

“So why Plant World Nursery?  Now as the name says, it says Plant World, it didn’t say Citrus World, because the vision is to go in line with what I was saying, to produce different types of plants that produce either the fruits or vegetables going down the road that would be juiced in the industry.  That’s the vision, right.”

 

Henry Anderson

That concept, it would seem, has plunged the association deeper into the red, as it has been unable to keep up with debt obligations to the lending institution.  However noble an idea Plant World Nursery is, Atlantic Bank, we are told, is ready to foreclose on the venture.

 

Henry Anderson

“It’s the largest state of the art nursery in Belize, one of the largest in the region.  We have a world class management system.  It doesn’t have the ISO-2015 certification yet, we are aiming to get that done by December.  That’s what the project deadline was so we’re still aiming towards that.  It’s part of a value chain.”

 

That value chain, as described, by Henry Anderson, Chief Executive Officer for the Citrus Growers Association, extends beyond the sale of plants.

 

Henry Anderson

“When we talk about Plant World Nursery, it’s not just the nursery, right, because the interest is not just to sell plants; the interest is to sell production.  Charles Revlon, when they asked him what he was selling, he wasn’t selling shampoo or makeup.  He was selling hope in a bottle, that’s the solution.  Well what we’re trying to sell is pound solids, so Plant World forms part of an integrated value chain.”

 

The other loan taken with Atlantic Bank was for two million dollars, an investment that was made in a fertilizer program.  Together with the finance borrowed for Plant World Nursery, the pair of loans amount to three point seven million dollars.  To date it has accrued an interest of a little over one million dollars.  While we are informed that Retired Brigadier General Robert Garcia has been appointed as receiver of Plant World Nursery, efforts are being made by CGA to rectify its financial crunch through a bond initiative with the Legacy Fund.

 

Henry Anderson

“We are working with Legacy, Mr. Irvin Perez and Legacy Fund, to raise eight point five million dollars.  If you look here, you are talking about a million selling in common shares, a million selling in preferred shares and six and a half million in bonds.  When we started this, we were trying and when we approached Legacy they said, let’s try to work with it in shares because you have about three hundred million in liquidity in Belize.  The size of this project and it’s an agriculture project and all things agriculture has ebb and flows, right.  Hurricane Earl came, it slowed down the movement of plants and things of that nature.  The financing for growers was delayed so we have to find ways to keep the project going to grow it but, you know, when the bank comes into the project they are coming in to get in, make their interest and move.  They are not there for the very long haul.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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1 Response for “C.G.A. Fighting to Save Plant World Nursery from Receivership”

  1. Dirk says:

    What a shame due to some real citrus reapers the cga is in financial trouble better yet in creole broke to the bone i would suggest to Henry Anderson to resign and take blame for all that is happening in that association that is turning to be a catastrophic meltdown the cga owes everyone no fuel for growers no lubricants no fertilizers no herbicides not even a meeting can be held to inform the growers about there investment its totally a bloody shame cause by the leadership of the cga RESIGN U ARE NOT WANTED HENRY ANDERSON

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