Florida Farmers Rush To Save Oranges As Juice Price Hits Rec...| MENAFN.COM

Friday, 24 March 2023 12:57 GMT

Florida Farmers Rush To Save Oranges As Juice Price Hits Records

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Bloomberg

Florida's citrus growers are racing to collect what's left of one the worst seasons ever after hurricane blows sent production plunging and juice prices toward fresh records.

The state's crop will plunge 56% this season after damage from Hurricane Ian, which hit the state in September just a many groves were recovering from Hurricane Irma in 2017. It exacerbated long-term impact from the devastating citrus-greening disease that's sent costs soaring as well. Greening makes fruit shrivel and reduces yield, eventually killing trees.

Fort Myers-based Alico Inc. reported a big quarterly loss this week, and cited higher fruit costs among reasons. The citrus giant accelerated its harvest because of the increased rate of fruit drop caused by Ian, and overall production of early crops will be lower from last year.

'We anticipate it may take up to two full seasons, or more, for our groves to recover to pre-hurricane production levels,” it said.

Orange juice futures rose as much as 3.5% to $2.516 a pound, the highest in records going back to early 1967.

Brazil and Mexico are the top US suppliers and both also face tight availability. Heavy rains delayed orange harvesting and juice processing in the state of Sao Paulo recently. That's affecting industry yields, increasing the number of orange boxes needed to produce a ton of concentrated juice, according to University of Sao Paulo researcher Margarete Boteon.

The supply crunch raises the cost outlook for other beverage makers including Minute Maid owner Coca-Cola Co. and PAI Partners, which owns Tropicana, that could be passed onto US consumers at the breakfast table. The Department of Agriculture will update this week its outlook for Florida's orange harvest.

In other softs commodities, raw sugar and cotton rose for the first time in three sessions each, and arabica coffee also advanced.


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