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Oct 29, 2012

Citrus Growers Association implements strike action

A crisis in the sugar industry was averted by the outstanding loans being paid by the new owners of the Belize Sugar Industries operation. But while the agricultural industry has closed the book on one problem, another festering situation is about to explode in the Pomona valley. The Citrus Growers Association (CGA) says the citrus industry has been in crisis for too long and a myriad of issues were aired out at a press conference today. The growers are holding a demonstration on Tuesday morning that will assemble at the Pomona Football field at ten a.m., then move to the Citrus Products of Belize Limited compound, where a rally will be held.  The main point of contention is that, according to the CGA, the C.P.B.L. factory is currently operating illegally. The norm is for pricing submissions to be made at least two weeks before the factory opens and a price should be agreed upon before growers start delivering fruit. But CGA says that for the first time, the procedures have been thrown out the window. Growers have since been encouraged not to deliver to the factory because the price being paid was not negotiated and the CGA believes its members should be paid more. So far, only four of four hundred CGA members have made deliveries.

 

Anthony Chanona

Anthony Chanona, Citrus Grower

“There are three specific sections of the Citrus Processing and Production Act, chapter three-seventy-seven of the law of Belize that deals in itemized fashion in law how the factory is to go about. To summarize them, 16-C, 18(2) and section 39(5); you are to meet with the citrus growers association, present a submission, agree on a price. You are to allow for a harvest committee to be formed to regulate the flow of fruit. None of those three specific sections were adhered to. Once the fruit starts reaping and you start delivering the fruit, it’s almost like you’re accepting—and we heard BCM accepting the prices—the Citrus Growers Association has not yet accepted the grapefruit price submission nor have they received an orange submission.”

 

Henry Anderson

Henry Anderson, C.E.O., CGA

“The submission that the factory gave—and we’re talking in boxes even though we’re paid in pound solids, but just to make it easier—is eight dollars and thirty-one cents. The way the formula works, you have to look at what you will make, the product that you will make and you value it based on market data. Notice, grapefruit is not like orange where you can go to a market; it’s not traded. As the chairman said, C.P.B.L. is using two thousand, two hundred and eighty-eight dollars per metric ton. In the food news market source of information that we used, grapefruit closed at three thousand US per metric ton. If you use that you would be getting a price of fifteen dollars per box. I’ll give a range. If you use the low, you’re at twenty-five hundred, you will get a price of a little over ten dollars. If you use the twenty-seven fifty, which is what we used for our press release, you would get about twelve-fifty-six I believe.”

 

Anthony Chanona

“We believe that large farms owned by agents of this chaos were called to started harvesting. Those were the first persons to contribute to the chaos and confusion where obviously the honorable deputy prime minister would be right in saying well what do we do? Close the factory and open it again and put risk the fruit? This country cannot afford to lose a dollar.”

 

The protest will be focused on six demands directed at Banks Holdings Chairman, Allan Fields, as well as its nominated directors on C.P.B.L. and subsidiary boards; Richard Cozier, Dan Stoute and Henry Canton. The demands include: to appoint Julian Murrillo as substantive chairman to the board of the C.P.B.L., adopt the resolutions of the December seventeenth, 2010 extraordinary general meeting, which terminated the employment of Canton and appoint a committee to identify a new C.E.O.  The CGA is also seeking to have persons responsible for the illegal opening of the factory to be penalized and have several measures implemented to deal with the control of the citrus greening disease.

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8 Responses for “Citrus Growers Association implements strike action”

  1. Storm says:

    All this regulation is ridiculous and unproductive. Let there be multiple buyers and processors, let them compete equally, and the market will eventually set the correct, fair price, at which everyone makes the optimum amount of money. That’s the essence of capitalism and there has never been a better economic system.

  2. Rod says:

    Get them Anthony march march on this useless impotent incompetent pm and gov. Do not give an inch on your hard work this gov. Wants to give away the whole country march to the pm Ouse not go march tha no park march o the pm house.

  3. Sick of Citrus says:

    Just give greedy Henery Anderson the job as CEO that he has wanted for so long and then this fight can be over. Oh wait but that still leaves Lenox Neal with nothing to do, Lord knows he can’t make sugar so he might as well be hired at CPBL to run around and tell everyone how great he is. But the only problem now is that both those jobs are currently being done by the Admin Manager at CPBL what a dog and pony show.

  4. Louisville,Ky says:

    Storm; you do not have to have an opinion on everything you know. In fact some topics I will suggest you stay clear of. Case in point: CGA business because it is very obvious you don’t know your butt from your elbow when it comes to the citrus industry.
    Yes, there MUST be regulations in a $100 million dollar industry where the big fish is always trying to eat the small fish.
    “let there be multiple buyers and processors…….” What are you talking about? who is preventing them from selling to multiple buyers? Do you know that citrus juice trades on the stock(open) market like most commodities?
    Finally, you think it costs panades money to set up a factory so that there may be, “multiple processors”? What I, think is that you are talking out of the side of your neck!!

  5. alley cat says:

    I don’t know much about citrus except the pink grape fruit on the hummingbird highway has to be the best fruit (all fruits citrus and non-citrus) I have ever had. These are some mature trees I would say at least 20 to 30 years old on the road side. Delicious!!!!

  6. Vuk says:

    The problem with people like “Storm” is that they have this childish belief of the unregulated marketplace being superior to every other form of economic management…something they should have dropped when the world economy began to go into crisis in 2007 because of the destruction caused by the lack of a regulated market.

  7. From the West says:

    As a matter of fact, Storm is correct, and Lousville, Ky is clueless. Every industry in Belize appears to be self destructing, why, because the growers expect that they should always and forever get preferential treatment. Someday everyone has to grow up and compete on a international level. If the fruit or sugar growers think they can demand high pay and poor quality product, sooner or later the company is forced to sell to international investors, and they know what it take to make money. The smaller farmer either get with it, or find another job.

  8. Storm says:

    @Louisville, what exactly is wrong with free competition?

    In fact my family has been in agriculture since before independence.

    As the industry is now, government controls who may grow, who may sell, who may export, who may import, the wages they pay to pickers, who may process, when a grower can sell to a processor, how much a grower can sell, what the price will be, and on and on. For some opaque reason, right now the processing plants are controlled by foreigners but owned, at least on paper, mostly by Belizeans, and that determines whether the growers prosper or not. There is a similar situation in the sugar industry, but we have to see how ASR actually runs its business;
    Americans understand the benefit of competition, so I hope they will set a better example — but having a monopoly on processing, maybe not. I still contend fair competition is the best system for any industry in the country. Competition improves the breed.

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