Harvesting reaches 80 percent in Florida

The Brazilian orange harvesting has been restricted to the valencia and natal oranges. Until March, the orange supply should remain low in the Sao Paulo state. The tahiti lime, in turn, has been in peak of season.

For a while, trades have been moving slowly in the fresh fruit market. Due to the high values, consumers have limited trades in the wholesale market of Sao Paulo city (Ceagesp in Portuguese). The pera late orange (on tree) was traded at 16.31 reals or 9.32 dollars per box on Feb 15th, increasing more than 3 percent in Real over Jan 31st. For the valencia, the raise was of 6.6 percent in Real, at 14.07 reals or 8.04 dollars per box. The natal variety averaged 14.42 reals or 8.24 dollars per box, upping 5.2 percent in Real.

In Florida, until the Feb 15th, citrus growers have harvested almost 80 percent of the early and midseason orange crop, forecasted at 81 million boxes of 40.8 kilos. Activities are a little delayed compared to the same period of the 2006/07 crop. It is important to remember, however, that the previous crop presented a lower production, of 128.9 million boxes.

For the current crop (2007/08), the USDA forecasted Florida orange production at 166 million boxes on Feb 8th. The reduction of 2 million boxes from the previous projection (168 million boxes) is linked to the smaller-than-average size of valencia oranges - the production of this variety is predicted to total 85 million boxes.

Due to the positive weather conditions for the crop development - higher temperatures in Florida, with no frosts -, the first blooming are expected to appear between the end of February and the beginning of March, according to the professor Gene Albrigo, from University of Florida. He also considers that, if orchards do not present too much looses (because of diseases) and if the trees keep in good conditions, the next Florida crop production should overtake the current one.

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