Orange You Glad You’re Not in the Orange Industry

As yet another example in the study of unintended consequences, Florida’s oranges are being threatened. Oranges are the signature fruit of Florida, and the orange market is struggling in a big way thanks to one small troublemaker: an Asian bug that spreads a tree-killing disease.
The orange industry harvest could plunge to 27 million boxes by 2026. That may still sound like a whole lot of fruit, but the orange industry typically produces 149.8 million boxes: that’s an 82 percent drop in 10 years.

The bacterium at fault was discovered in 2005 and it causes, “Huanglongbing, better known as citrus greening.” The bacterium made its first appearance in southern Florida. A tiny, winged insect called the Asian citrus psyllid spreads the disease and currently, there’s no cure. Greening cost the orange industry $7.8 billion in losses, and over 7,500 jobs between 2006 and 2014.

Florida’s orange industry is “precarious” and it, “risks losing relevance and economic impact in the long run if crop yields continue to fall and trees keep dying.” The orange industry harvest this year will shrink to 74 million boxes, “down 24 percent from a year ago and the lowest since 1964, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. The forecast signals the fourth consecutive seasonal decline, the longest slump since at least 1913.”

The dismal prospects, “pushed prices for frozen concentrated orange juice to $1.4785 a pound yesterday on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, up 43 percent from this year’s low of $1.0345 on September 29. On November 13, prices touched $1.607, the highest since June 2014. This is raising costs for Coca Cola Co., maker of Minute Maid brands, and PepsiCo Inc., which sells Tropicana and Gatorade.”

The orange industry has also been facing declining demand from Americans. Consumers are increasingly concerned about caloric intake, and have begun to favor alternatives like coconut water. Despite the changing consumer taste, Florida’s orange industry—along with other citrus fruits—employ, “about 62,000 people and has an annual economic impact of $10.7 billion on the state.”

It will take more than 20 million trees in the next 10 years to restore production levels for the orange industry. While growers are trying desperately to contain and eliminate the bacterium, finding a permanent solution is more than difficult. Scientists are working on finding new options to save the Florida orange industry.

The Florida orange industry is facing a harsh reality thanks to what may have initially seemed to be a small problem. For investors, sometimes the small problems that initially go unnoticed, end up being the biggest threat to success. At Apex Financial Advisors, we work with you to analyze your finances and portfolio to eliminate any problems, and put programs in place to grow and protect your wealth for success. Call us today to start talking to expert financial analysts who can help you grow your wealth.