This week, the cabinet decided to inject $15 million through the Development Finance Corporation as loans to farmers to support a revival of Belize's citrus industry. Also, it was agreed to encourage and support “value adding and diversification of the citrus industry from the production and marketing of bulk citrus concentrates to the manufacture and sale of other fruit concentrates."
The Ministry of Agriculture has indicated that the diversification efforts approved by cabinet will include pineapple, soursop, coconuts among others, NFC (not from concentrate) juices, single strength and other tropical juices.
Ministry officials have stated that the decision to support the internal and external diversification of the citrus industry is being considered as a way to assist the processing plants in the Stann Creek district to optimize the use of their equipment and meet their processing capacities. These alternative fruit crops will also provide realistic options to citrus farmers to generate income while they await their newly replanted citrus groves to come into production.