World’s Largest Orange-Juice Exporter Producing Excessively Watery Oranges

Image courtesy of Eric BEAUME

While your morning glass of orange juice won’t taste any different, it’s got more oranges than usual in it. Thanks to a water problem, the world’s largest exporter is having to squeeze many more fruits just to make you the same amount of juice

Brazil is struggling with citrus greening disease for the second season, Bloomberg reports, which is causing oranges to be excessively watery. The disease causes fruit to shrivel or drop early — green — from trees.

Farmers have moved their growing operations to colder areas as a result, which require irrigation. And all that water is ending up in oranges.

As a result, Brazilian citrus companies crushed 288.93 boxes of oranges to produce one ton of juice in the season that started in July 2016 and ended Dec. 31.

In comparison, the historical average is only about 250 boxes of oranges to make one ton of frozen juice concentrate, said the Brazilian Association of Citrus Exporters, known as CitrusBR.

Things aren’t going to get better any time soon, either.

“We believe that 275 boxes per ton will be the new average from now,” CitrusBR Executive Director Ibiapaba Netto told Bloomberg.

And if juice exporters have to buy more boxes of oranges while still paying the same prices, those costs could trickle down to the grocery aisle.