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Jan 24, 2013

Citrus Mutual wants its own processing factory

Citrus industry problems are endemic to the boardroom rather than on plantations. The Citrus Growers Association continues its battle with its investment partner Banks Holdings of Barbados over the future of Citrus Products of Belize Limited.  While these groups engaged in a legal battle, the larger farmers formed a second group called Belize Citrus Mutual (BCM). BCM wants to build its own processing facility and says it has the capacity since its members harvest approximately sixty percent of the non-C.P.B.L. fruit production. That could potentially upset the already delicate industry. But BCM’s Chairman, Ernest Raymond Senior, says they have written the C.E.O. of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture, Jose Alpuche, on January seventeenth to seek advice on their proposal.

 

Via Phone: Ernest Raymond Sr., Chairman, B.C.M.

Ernest Raymond Sr.

“Asking if B.C.M., as an association, can open a factory to produce fruits from its members. This request is as a result of the ongoing dispute among CGA, C.P.B.L. and Banks as to issues arising with the shares as well as the management of C.P.B.L.  That dispute, in our view, as drawn out as it is, will impact in our view, the processing of citrus fruits down the road. We would very much prefer that the processing of citrus products by C.P.B.L. would be unhampered by these sorts of disputes. And if that is the case, we don’t feel very confident about future of industry and in particular the processing of citrus fruits.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“Wouldn’t a second processing factor cause some unrest; it would also damage the value of the shareholding in the current factory itself?”

 

Via Phone: Ernest Raymond Sr.

“Well the intent is not to damage the holdings of the present CGA and Banks. The intent is more to instigate action on the settlement of that dispute and if it isn’t then certainly there will be this alternative source for the processing of citrus fruits. It would have been preferable if the C.E.O. of the Ministry of Agriculture would have responded in a timely manner in terms of the way forward in that request. But be that as it may, it is out there; our intention is certainly expressed now publicly and we hope that our intention will in the first instance bring about some action as it relates to the issues at hand. But certainly our intention is to ensure that there is an appropriate environment, a conducive environment for we, as citrus producers.”

 

Raymond senior says that Belize Citrus Mutual has not received a response from the Ministry.

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2 Responses for “Citrus Mutual wants its own processing factory”

  1. shady says:

    If BCM has the money to creat their own processing plant, why not then they try to buy out Banks Holding shares in CPBL.

  2. Storm says:

    Here’s a great example where excessive government control strangles an industry. The Citrus Act limits processing and export to plants licensed by the government — a bottleneck on exports, and a great opportunity for corruption.

    Take the restrictions off, let anyone with the capital who wants to process and export citrus [or any other product] do so, at their own risk. My guess is there would be several new plants over the years, some small, some large, some specializing in high-end products, etc. It will give producers options where to sell their produce, and lower prices to consumers.

    Competition always lowers prices, creates more efficiency, and improves the industry.

    GOB needs to limit regulation to things reasonably related to safety, not to controlling the economic life of any industry.

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