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"Most difficult grapefruit season in Florida for years"

This year again there is less Florida Grapefruit available. The supply is between 30-40% less, because much of the citrus was damaged by a virus. "Many orchards were destroyed last year, because of 'citrus canker', leaving the healthy orchards less protected against branch and wind damage during the growing process. Because of the high standard of requirements a large part of the crop is no longer suitable for the European market. There is a shortage in the popular large sizes and a surplus in the smaller sizes.  

The citrus is checked at least three times during picking, packing and shipment. As a result arrivals were later than ever this year. In addition to the canker the fruit also suffered from frost. "The quality is therefore not always very good, with the result that a large part is rejected and goes to the processing industry" according to Dutch importer, John van Duivenbode. High prices would be the logical result of the smaller supply, but the demand is not there. This is really the most difficult season in years. The price for the large sizes is good because of the demand. Supply, however, will be very limited till the end of the season.
As a result of the strict demands from Europe more and more grapefruit goes to other markets. At the moment white grapefruit is very popular in Japan and Korea, the import conditions there are not as strict and they pay well and making them appealing to the American producers. This difficult situation is likely to remain for the coming years.

Publication date: 1/25/2010
Author: Gerard Lindhout


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