The Citrus Products of Belize Limited - CPBL -commenced delivery of fruit last week - but the Citrus Growers Association - which represents about 400 growers is not participating.

They object to the opening of the plant and have suspended delivery of fruit because they say CPBL is acting illegally - by opening before agreeing on a price with the farmers.

Now, to understand just how strange this is, you'd have to recall that the Citrus Growers Association owns what should be controlling interests in CPBL - except they don't control the company.

That is a tangled tale of corporate intrigue - but the bottom line tonight is that the factory is in operation - and the single largest growers group - representing the most small farmers is not participating.

We went to Belmopan and CPBL in Pomona today to find out why:..

Jules Vasquez reporting
Today the CPBL factory at Pomona was taking delivery of grapefruit as normal - but it was not a regular day - because the factor was opened under protest from the Citrus Growers Association which represents that majority of the growers.

They held a press conference in Belmopan at the George Price Center to say they will demonstrate against the factory's opening.

Eccleston Irving, Chairman CGA
"That the growers who are the CGA along with industry stakeholders and Belizeans who are standing up to end white collar corruption in Belize have join to demonstrate starting tomorrow."

Anthony Chanona, Former Chairman, CGA
"The demonstration is to make noise in no in certain manner that we are upset with this crisis."

They are protesting the opening of the factory without proper consultation - as is legally required with the harvest committee.

That means they have not arrived at an agreed upon price - and the disparity between CPBL's price and the Growers is huge:

Henry Anderson - CEO, CGA
"When you have a factory in which you are the majority shareholders and this is the purpose for the demonstration you'll seek to open without even sitting down and discussing the first price with you and when the government or the ministry is allowing that to happen essentially what you are doing is creating a precedent where the factory dominates the growers. A lot of growers are essentially saying they prefer to ensure everything is done properly than go and take their fruit in and not be sure how much they are going to get paid."

And the difference is millions of dollars:

Eccleston Irving, Chairman CGA
"For grapefruit it's around $900,000 and for orange it would be a little over 5 million. That's the preliminary numbers."

And while the growers make their demands, they also stand to make a loss:

Anthony Chanona, Former Chairman, CGA
"At a terrible cost there is anxiety among our members. They want to harvest, people want to work and they see trucks of fruits going in and its putting the CGA by design chaos at a terrible disadvantage almost as to suggest we are preventing growers from making money. It is at a terrible cost to the members of the association to see this dysfunctional arrangement happening before their eyes and now we are telling them not to participate. It puts us at a distinct disadvantage."

So far only four members of the citrus growers have delivered - there are over 400 members - and they hope there will be a show of force tomorrow:

Denzil Jenkins, Director CGA
"We are calling on all the growers to support us in the demonstration that we are going to have tomorrow and for the rest of the days that the demonstration will be held. We are calling on the government of Belize to respect citrus growers."

Henry Anderson - CEO, CGA
"We are not going there to incite anything and just remember who the owners of the factory are. We will not like one of our growers or one of us to be murdered like what happen in the sugar industry. That was a situation that could have been avoided."

They are also asking Government to a meeting on Wednesday

Eccleston Irving, Chairman CGA
"Tasks the Honorable Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture to meet with the CGA committee of management on Wednesday morning October 31st, 2012 at 10am at the CGA conference room to work with us in finding a amicable solution to our concerns and above and arrive on a definitive course of action that will end the crisis in the citrus industry."

We noted that three PUP representatives from the south and a former UDP Representative were at the event, ostensibly in support of the CGA.

We asked CEO of CPBL Henry Canton for comment but he declined. CPBL reports that up to Friday it had received 40 thousand boxes of grapefruit in its first two days of operation - which is not optimal but satisfactory.

Today Belize Citrus Mutual sent out a release. This si the other growers group that has far fewer farmers numerically - but much larger farms and more yield - in short, it represents the big growers. They welcomed the opening of the factory last week and today's release says that CGA's call to suspend deliveries is quote, "completely ludicrous….since citrus farmers have tens of thousands of boxes of ripe grapefruit."

They add that the only thing which should determine when the factory opens is quote, "the availability of adequate mature fruit." The Citrus Mutual release also says that "The (CGA's members) only produce 30% of the fruit produced by the entire industry while CPBL does 25% and Belize Citrus Mutual's farmers produce 45%."

Channel 7