Brazil's orange harvests hit by drought

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Brazil's orange harvests hit by drought

Severe droughts have hit harvests in Brazil's key orange growing state of São Paulo, website reported.

Farmers in Votuporanga, in the north west of  São Paulo, have abandoned their orchards due to the harsh conditions.

Under normal circumstances fruit should be maturing ready for harvesting which has already started in other parts of the country.

Soaring temperatures led many flowering trees to abort and the fruit which did mature was deformed due to lack of water.

Orange groves of more than 20 years were largely unproductive with experts fearing the current climate put trees at risk of developing greening disease.

A National Supply Company (Conab) survey revealed São Paulo's plantations had reduced from 620,000 hectares last season to just 580,000 this year.

Conab said the decline was due to the high investment renewal costs of unproductive orchards and the much higher potential returns of planting sugar cane.

Related stories: São Paulo orange crop  to grow 27% in 2011

São Paulo oranges squeeze 19.3% growth


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