REPORT #220 April 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

There is a news item from Belmopan that the Citrus Growers are going to get some kind of legislation passed and are also going to invest in the processing of citrus products to the tune of $8 million. Not sure how it all works.

BUT, and it is a big BUT, it is certainly a move in the right direction. A problem with small citrus growers, is that they have always been victims, or prey for the processing marketing predators. Business being business, the small individual growers in Belize have needed for a long time, to be part of the whole gamut of the citrus chain from grower to market. It seems like they are finally going to be on the way. I'm not clear on what is happening yet. But in co-operatives it is very important to have the one member, one vote principal, so the little guy has an equal voice through numbers with the big player members in the game. Otherwise they get trampled on like a herd of elephants on a nest of ants. How this will play out is anybody's guess, but to get a fair price for citrus, they have to be members with an equal voice, particularly when it comes to dividing up profits and expenses and costs of production along the line. This is called the social aspects of production, processing and marketing for a export product. It works the same way with bananas in some countries. A little grower one man/family operation producing 2 acres of bananas can make $10,000 USA a year, by being part of the whole business, and having a vote through large numbers of small individual growers in the costs distribution of spraying, cable systems, the shipping and marketing and all that. They don't get taken advantage of by the big producers in the division of expenses and profits.

The citrus growers in Belize are on the way to being able to stay small, but still get a fair price at the bargaining table.

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