Over two hundred houses damaged by hurricane Richard, and at least two cruise ship cancellations following the devastation all signal a mounting cost added onto the thirty three point eight million estimate originally given by NEMO. Citrus brings in over one hundred million in foreign exchange annually. The Citrus Industry has announced that its damage now stands at a high figure of thirty-two point six million. News Five took a tour of the devastation caused in the citrus belt today.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

Hurricane Richard did not only damage the roofs of houses. It almost collapsed the citrus industry which brings in over one hundred million dollars in foreign exchange to the country. On the Hummingbird Highway the damages suffered by the hurricane varied on farms in St. Margaret’s Village.

Anthony Chanona

Anthony Chanona, Citrus Grower

“Those trees canopy exposed more to wind and the laden fruit load on the trees, they couldn’t move as easily in the wind as the smaller trees so we suffered structural damage in larger, older groves. So these would be about eighteen year old trees and so it is a question of time. It is going to be eighteen years before we can replace this kind of damage.”

The devastation of many farmers has been recorded by the Citrus Growers Association which represents five hundred growers. According to the CGA Chairman, over twenty-three and a half million dollars have been lost in citrus and over nine million in grapefruit revenues.

Eccleston Irving, Chairman CGA

Eccleston Irving


“The devastation preliminary is from Silk Grass all the way through the Hummingbird, in the Valley, in the Mullins River Area, along the coastal road and all the way up to Teakettle Area in different degrees. Right now, the grapefruit crop is the most sensitive one; and the estimate is that about eighty percent on that is on the ground for the first crop. And the orange, the estimate is anywhere between twenty to thirty percent. We went to the factory and we made arrangements for a salvage and that salvage had to be negotiated out with certain parameters in terms of ratio and quality and that sort of thing to make a start on the grapefruit. And then we did the same thing tentatively with the orange with a proviso to do some sampling to keep things going and to put the parameters in place so that best as possible we can stick to some sort of quality.”

Jose Sanchez

“So in essence you are trying to salvage the grapefruit, but to tell the truth the oranges are gone?”

Eccleston Irving

“That is correct. The orange basically for all intents and purposes that is gone.”

Grapefruit should have been ready for harvesting in November, but now the rush is on to get the fallen grape fruits to the factory before they become spoilt on the ground. After workers pick up the grapefruit, they are bagged and then a tractor visits the farms and it is loaded for processing at the factory. Deep in the valley on the Old Mullins River Road, Ruben Murillo is an experienced farmer who has lost his home as well as his crop.

Ruben Murillo, CGA member

“The nutmeg trees, the coconut trees, some of the orange trees bruk down the grapefruit trees. You know you got a lot of loss.”

Jose Sanchez

“This is a life’s work.”

Ruben Murillo

Ruben Murillo



“Oh yes, this will take couple of years because then you will have to power saw down some and then you will have to replant back. The whole entire farm is thirty-three acres. But of the thirty-three acres, only five is grapefruit, and the balance is orange. Last year, crop was two thousand five hundred bags of grapefruit and orange was five thousand bags. But I would say I lost about three quarter and I saved about quarter—quarter is on the tree and three-quarter is on the ground.”

Jose Sanchez

“And I saw about two hundred bags of grapefruit—only two hundred bags have been filled.”

Ruben Murillo

“I reap up to now.”

Louis Bernard

Louis Bernard, CGA Member

“We de yah fi bout 16 years and we have twenty acres of citrus: orange, grapefruit, mandarin, cashew, and different stuff and we have two acres; plantain, and cocoa, cassava and everything went down smack smooth.”

Jose Sanchez

“Hurricane Richard; what has it taken from you?”

Louis Bernard

“Well it takes a lot of orange. Approximately it take about a thousand box of orange, about five hundred box of grapefruit, it takes the whole two acres of plantain and stuff—everythign root out of the ground—cahsew trees nutmegs and most everything.”

Jose Sanchez

“Have you been able to put a monetary value to what you’ve lost?”

Louis Bernard

“Well, not really yet, but roughly something over seven thousand dollars worth of stuff.”

Jose Sanchez

“Now in terms of starting back again, how long will it take to get back on your foot?”

Louis Bernard

“Well it gonna take me proximately about four to five years to get back stuff. It’s not gonna be the really normal ride away but slowly on my feet creeping.”

Several miles down the Road, Francisco Bul, his family and thirty others survived the storm in a makeshift shelter that resembles a roof. Bul, who is almost blind, provided inspiration by leading in the salvage of grapefruit.

Francisco Bul, Citrus Grower

“But I was out there filling krukus bag. I made thirty-seven bags for myself and I barely could see that gentleman over there—right in front of you.”

Jose Sanchez

“So it is clear to see you will make sure you find a way to get back on your feet?”

Francisco Bul

Francisco Bul

“I mek sure. I dah wah survivor. I am a survivor. And moreover dah noh only citrus we lost. We lost plantain, we lost cassava, we lost all we crops. I have thirty acres of citrus: ten acres which is grapefruit and the balance orange.”

Jose Sanchez

“How much have you lost?”

Francisco Bul

“Well I suppose to lost about fifty percent of the crop.”

Jose Sanchez

“And that is grapefruit and citrus?”

Francisco Bul

“Grapefruit and orange.”

Jose Sanchez

“How hard is it going to be to get back on your feet? What is it that you as a grower will need from the citrus growers association?”

Francisco Bul

“Well, the assistance we need dah to give us back our input, so that we could recover faster. If we noh put back the input, then we can’t recover back.”

Eccleston Irving

“CGA personnel and members and executives are all over the citrus belt ensuring and asking what the farmers need and supplying those things to the farmers: like bags, we’ll be having in arrangement for labor, volunteers coming in to organize them to the most needy spot because this operation can only last a few days. So between tomorrow and Friday, things have been better organize now and we feel that is going to be the last big bang and we’ll be getting as much as possible.”

Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.