Hurricane Ian sends orange juice prices skyrocketing in Florida

Hurricane “Ian” devastated the largest citrus fruit-growing region in the US state of Florida. The result: orange juice is becoming as expensive as it was last at the end of 2016.

In the USA, the price of orange juice has risen sharply because of Hurricane “Ian”. The price of a pound (450 grams) of frozen orange juice concentrate for delivery in November rose to $2.01 on Monday, the highest since December 2016. “Ian” had also moved through central Florida’s Polk County, the main growing region for Oranges in the US state – the so-called citrus belt.

The Florida Farmers Association said the hurricane ripped a lot of fruit off the trees. The orange harvest usually begins in September. Fruit juice maker Alico said it estimates it will take at least two seasons for production levels to return to pre-Ian levels. The hurricane hit the southwest coast of Florida last week and caused devastation there; “Ian” also caused flooding inland.

For many years Florida was the largest orange-growing region in the United States; however, since 2005 many orchards have been afflicted by the citrus disease Huanglongbing (HLB), known as “yellow dragon”, which keeps the fruit green. Almost all growing areas in Florida are now affected. The 2021/2022 harvest, which ended in June, was 23 percent lower than in the previous year. Florida only supplied 44 percent of the orange juice in the USA, California 55 percent – which put the west coast state at the top.

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