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Purchase would ensure continued income for CGA, says McConnell

Published:Saturday | April 28, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer

BOG WALK, St Catherine:

PETER MCCONNELL, managing director of Trade Winds Citrus Limited, told The Gleaner that his main interest in seeking to purchase the Juciful brand, under licence from the Citrus Growers Association (CGA), is to ensure a continued income-generating source for the CGA, so it can continue to provide the necessary services to its members. This, he said, was necessary for the continued viability of the citrus industry.

Pressed as to whether he had any interest in the processing plant, McConnell was emphatic in saying no. He explained that Trade Winds already has similar assets with disease affecting citrus output in recent years both plants had in recent times been operating well below capacity.

He added: "It's something which should have happened a long time ago.

Meanwhile, the CGA delegates rejected as "impractical, problematic and ridiculous", the J$76-million offer from the Trinidadian company, which was presented to the board by John W. Lee, receiver for the CGA subsidiary Jamaica Citrus Growers Limited that operated the factory and processing plant in Bog Walk where the Juciful line of juices is produced.

Payment plan

In addition to the $30-million cash payment, the company agreed to pay another $20 million over 10 years ($2 million) on condition that the CGA would guarantee the delivery of a set amount of fruit to the factory each year. Over the next 20 years, another $17.4 million would be accounted for as rental of the CGA office which sits on the factory compound, calculated at $450,000 per annum, allowing for inflation.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries would be responsible for distributing the other $8.6 million as a grant to citrus farmers, but the CGA would have no say in the matter.

Trade Winds Citrus Limited is offering a royalty agreement with the CGA under which it would have the right to produce, market, distribute and sell under the Juciful brand under licence. It would also commit to buying all available oranges (not grapefruits) from CGA members during every crop year.

Among other things, Trade Winds also recommended the use of an external auditor to verify its sales of Juciful products and said that person would have access to all relevant records.