Belize Table of Contents

Citrus production, mainly oranges and grapefruit, occurs predominantly in Belize's Stann Creek District. The citrus trade began in the 1920s, but became significant only in the 1980s, when Belizean-produced citrus concentrate became exempt from United States tariff duties under the terms of the CBI. Exports of fresh citrus fruit to the United States were restricted because of infestation of the Mediterranean fruit fly. Citrus, much like sugar, underwent sharp price and production fluctuations, although overall export receipts from citrus concentrate markedly increased during the 1980s because of high prices.

In the early 1990s, citrus production was controlled by two processing companies. Founded by a Jamaican family, the Citrus Company of Belize had been controlled since 1984 by the Trinidad Citrus Association. Belize Food Products, the second processor, was owned by Nestlé, the Swiss multinational, until it was sold to a local consortium in 1990. Both processing plants were located near Dangriga on the Caribbean coast.

The future of citrus was uncertain. In 1990 only half of planted citrus hectarage was in production. There were indications that production could double within five years. There were worries, however, about the effect of competition from Mexico or Brazil through preferential access allowed to them via the proposed North American Free Trade Agreement or the EAI.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress