Why You Might Have Trouble Finding Florida Oranges

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Between the ongoing pandemic and natural disasters, the past few years have been fraught with shortages. For example, in 2021, items like glass bottles, candy canes, and chlorine for pools were all in low supply. And this year, it looks like Florida oranges are next on the list.

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In a recent report, the United States Department of Agriculture estimated that Florida will produce 43.5 million boxes of oranges. If this happens, it will be 18% less than last season's production. It will ​also​ be the smallest amount since the 1944-1945 season, when growers produced 42.2 million boxes, according to CNN Business.

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The reason? Citrus greening, or huanglongbing, a disease that targets citrus crops, according to NBC News. It's caused by bacteria that's transmitted by the Asian citrus psyllid, a type of insect. The psyllid eats the leaves and stems of citrus trees, ultimately spreading the infection and causing citrus greening.

The disease makes it difficult for the tree to absorb nutrients. This leads to small, asymmetrical oranges with a green hue. The oranges are also more sour than their healthy counterparts, according to the Florida Department of Citrus.

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Moreover, the coronavirus pandemic has increased the cost things like seeds and fertilizer. All that being said, orange production has been declining. So, if you notice that oranges (or orange juice) are more expensive than usual, you'll know the exact reason.

Other 2022 shortages:

Last month, we wrote about the rising cost of butter. This is due to a low supply of cream. In turn, some manufacturers have reduced butter production, causing higher butter prices.

As mentioned earlier, there is a shortage of paint as well. Climate and man-made disasters have decreased the availability of certain materials needed to make paint, such as petroleum and linseed.

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