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By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Exports of concentrated Brazilian orange juice to the U.S. have fallen by a quarter this year, following a ban halted exports after a prohibited fungicide was found in consignments entering the United States. Now Brazil is trying to get sales back to where they were, and there has been some success recently, with exports up 72 percent year-on-year in September 2012.

Brazil Orange Juice Exports to U.S., Brazil News
Brazil remains by far the world’s biggest producer of oranges and, unlike the U.S., exports nearly everything it produces, photo by Scott Bauer/USDA.

Brazil remains the world’s biggest producer of oranges, particularly in the area around São Paulo, producing over 18 million tonnes of oranges in 2010, well over twice the amount produced in the U.S. – particularly in Florida.

Brazil exports nearly all of the oranges it produces, whereas the U.S. consumes most of what it grows domestically.

Yet even now, with demand for “frozen concentrated orange juice” (or FCOJ as it is known in the trade) starting to pick up pace again in the last few months, Brazil will still see sales well below results posted in 2011.

According to CitrusBR, which represents Brazil’s citrus producers and exporters, January to September saw U.S. demand for Brazilian orange juice down 25 percent year-on-year.

In January, the FDA barred consignments of Brazilian orange juice after some batches tested positive for the fungicide carbendazim, which is banned in the United States. The country then went on to test every delivery from Brazil.

Brazilian producers were forced to send only non-concentrated juice until July, when concentrated juice was once again accepted. Brazil has typically used the fungicide against “citrus black spot” which caused by two different types of fungus.

FCOJ exports from Brazil to the U.S. totaled 170,000 tonnes in 2011, and although recent exports have proved to be much stronger than last year, 2012 totals are likely to end at least twenty percent down on those achieved in 2011.

Experts from CitrusBR say Brazil will have to get used to lower demand, given the general tendency for reduced orange juice consumption that has been noted over the past decade, during which time demand has fallen by a quarter.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.

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