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Growing Competition

The modern citrus industry in Florida faces a variety of issues that imperils its future in the state. Encroaching suburban development and foreign competition present the biggest problems. As the fourth most populous state in the nation, development has increasingly encroached on the historic areas of citrus production in central and south Florida, especially the surrounding regions of Tampa Bay, Orlando, and Miami-Palm Beach.

Foreign competition from Brazil continues to grow at an astounding rate, outpacing production in Florida in all categories. The Brazilian citrus industry utilizes low labor costs and cheap fertilizer to produce significantly cheaper citrus than Florida, even after the shipping and tariff costs to import it into the United States. While Brazil may dominate the concentrate and overseas markets, Florida citrus is coveted by fresh juice makers.

The acreage in Florida that is devoted to growing citrus is continuously shrinking, yet the Florida Citrus Commission remains steadfast in its confidence that Florida citrus will prevail. Marketing the quality of Florida grown orange juice and diversifying businesses to include shipping gift fruit remain the greatest hopes for the future of the industry in Florida.