Orange Tree Harvest
After travelling just over half-way along the Hummingbird Highway toward the east coast, it became evident that this Stann Creek District part of the country was home to numerous large citrus groves. Along both sides of the highway, orange (mostly) and grapefruit trees stretched off on both sides of the highway, partially climbing the slopes of the nearby Maya Mountains.
We saw many large truck loads of fruit trundling down the highway to the two juice concentrator plants that are located in this part of Belize. It turns out that this industry was introduced to the country in 1926 and has grown significantly since then. Although the production (80% oranges and 20% grapefruit) is small in terms of world output, these locally owned and managed groves and concentrators provide a major source of income for the country, worth about US$50 million.
Every so often along the highway, you will pass large ramps where the oranges are deposited before they are then loaded onto the trailers that drive up beside them. The strange thing about the orange juice is that so much of it is transformed into frozen concentrate for export, we had very little in the way of fresh orange juice served to us in our entire 3 weeks in Belize!
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