Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise, Jose Mai has nominated a high level Citrus Working Group that is tasked with preparing concrete recommendations to chart the way forward for the citrus industry in Belize.
The Working Group is to be chaired by former Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Hugh O’Brien. Production of citrus in Belize has declined rapidly in recent years, reaching a low of 2.1 million boxes in the 2019-2020 crop while the current crop is not expected to even reach 2 million boxes.
This is a dismal production when compared to the 7.8 million boxes produced in 2005. The citrus industry is facing numerous challenges and while some are writing off the industry, Minister Mai is of the belief that given the right environment and leadership, the industry can be both revived and diversified.
According to breakingbelizenews.com, the Citrus Working Group is appointed initially for a period of 8 weeks, during which time the Working Group is expected to prepare and submit the recommendations to the Minister responsible for Agriculture, Jose Mai. It is Minister Mai’s intention to submit these recommendations to Cabinet in the form of a Cabinet Paper for their consideration.