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Orange Juice Prices More Than Double as Brazil Harvest Falters

Orange juice prices have surged to unprecedented levels as Brazil, the world’s leading producer of oranges, battles a devastating outbreak of citrus greening disease.

This deadly bacterial infection is wreaking havoc on orange groves, drastically reducing the supply of the beloved fruit and, in turn, sending shockwaves through the global market.

Citrus greening disease, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB), is transmitted by the Asian citrus psyllid insect. Once a tree is infected, it cannot be cured and typically dies within a few years.

The disease causes fruits to become misshapen and bitter, making them unsuitable for consumption. Brazil's orange industry, which supplies over a third of the world’s orange juice, has been hit particularly hard, with significant portions of their orchards affected.

The consequences of this outbreak are being felt worldwide. Since the beginning of the year, orange juice prices have more than doubled, leaving consumers and businesses alike grappling with the increased costs.

Retailers are struggling to keep orange juice on the shelves, and many are passing the higher prices on to customers. The spike in prices has also impacted related industries, including the hospitality sector, where orange juice is a staple item.

Economists warn that the situation could worsen before it improves. The spread of citrus greening is difficult to control, and efforts to combat it, such as removing and replacing infected trees, are costly and time-consuming. Furthermore, new trees take several years to mature and produce fruit, meaning that the supply of oranges is unlikely to stabilise in the near future.

In response to the crisis, researchers are intensifying their efforts to develop disease-resistant orange varieties and effective treatments for HLB. However, these solutions are still in the experimental stages and may take years to implement on a large scale.

For now, consumers can expect orange juice prices to remain high, and the global citrus industry faces an uncertain future as it navigates the challenges posed by this relentless disease.


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