US: Citrus disease threatens Florida orange production
Global orange juice supplies could be under threat following an outbreak of the deadly citrus disease huanglongbing in Florida.
The disease, carried by a sap-sucking insect, originated from China. An infected tree will produce small, green, misshapen and bitter oranges.
Although the oranges are edible, few fruit companies are prepared to buy them. Known in the West as 'greening', the disease has been detected in all 32 citrus-producing counties in Florida, as well as in Louisiana and Texas.
A further blow for Floridian citrus supplies is the havoc caused during the hurricane season. High winds and rain exacerbate citrus canker, a disease that infects leaves and causes fruit to drop prematurely.
Florida is second only to Brazil in global orange juice production and the state remains the world's leading producer of grapefruit. It produces more than 80% of the US' supply of citrus, with major oversees export markets including Canada, Japan, France and the UK.
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