Florida orange: the star of citrus

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It’s the star citrus of Florida, but orange growers in the Sunshine Stateare worried. This year, the industry expects a record drop in production. A situation which pushes the Republican governor of Florida to increase his aid to this industry essential to the economy of this state.

From our correspondent in Miami,

The Florida orange is quite a symbol. It is even the emblem that appears on the license plates of the cars of this southern state of the United States. But the emblem is in bad shape, like all of Florida citrus production in general.

For more than 10 years, its production has declined. Firstly, a bacterium responsible for the yellow dragon disease which decimates crops. A deadly disease for citrus fruits, imported by an Asian insect, which attacks both the tree, but also the fruit, preventing it from ripening.

The other scourge of Florida orange producers are also natural disasters such as hurricanes, which are increasingly violent and devastating with global warming. As a result, this year, the forecasts of the United States Department of Agriculture hardly reassure the industry. On the contrary !

The weakest harvest since the 1940s?

The US government even expects a historic drop, and is counting on the lowest harvest since the 1940s, with an annual drop of 11%, from 52.8 million cases produced in 2020-2021 against 47 million this year. .

To offset the drop, in November, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis offered a $ 1.5 million boost in his roughly $ 30 million annual aid to the citrus industry. Essential public aid, according to the executive director of the Florida citrus department. ” Because this industry keeps fighting, insists Shanon Shepp, and remains a vital part of our state’s economy.

But the sector wants to remain optimistic and paradoxically relies on the coronavirus crisis to revive itself. Because with Covid-19, Americans are consuming more orange juice, a drink known to be rich in Vitamin C. The Florida industry is therefore now relying more on quality to produce more artisanal organic juices. Provided of course that the fierce competition, particularly from Brazil, does not come to thwart the hopes of citrus growers in Florida.


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