As Canadians are relying heavily on Texas for citrus imports, particularly grapefruit, higher prices are probably underway as Texas is still pulling itself back together after last month’s unusual freeze.
Producers in the Rio Grande Valley, the heart of the Texas citrus industry, typically harvest more than 9 million cartons of grapefruit and oranges each year. Unfortunately, this year’s yield will be a fraction of that, says Fred Karle, owner of Karle Farms and board chair of trade association Texas Citrus Mutual.
Ctvnews.ca yesterday quoted him as saying: “The remainder of our (orange) crop is gone, about 60 per cent of our grapefruit crop is gone. So instead of that nine million you mentioned, we’ve probably hit about 3.5 million and that’s it for this year.”
For citrus producers, the storm came at a particularly bad time, as February is when the buds start coming in for the following season’s harvest, putting future production in jeopardy. Texas Citrus Mutual estimates the storm caused at least US$300 million in damage to the state’s fruit industry.