Good Practices

Orange producers surpass the main disease of the activity and achieve the highest productivity in history

Who | Fundecitrus

Where: Brazil
What: Fundecitrus is a private association maintained by citrus growers and juice industries in the state of São Paulo to promote the sustainable development of the citrus park.

Since 2004, the productive sector has researched and modernized to avoid the advance of greening, which is currently the biggest villain in citrus cultivation.

Orange growers in Brazil will harvest about 390 million boxes of fruit this harvest. These farmers are achieving the highest productivity in their history, 1,050 boxes per hectare. And the fruit has to be really good, since out of every five glasses of juice drunk on the planet, three are from our oranges. This result is only possible after the sector has mobilized to fight the main disease of the activity: greening. 

Worldwide, orange farming is one of the most sensitive to pests and diseases. They are fungi, viruses, bacteria, insects. A constant threat that has already eliminated millions and millions of trees in recent decades. Orange orchards have not been facing worrying production diseases for some time now. In the 1970s and 1980s, citrus cancer was the farmer’s biggest headache. 

It was no coincidence that the main orange research institute in Brazil was born because of a disease. It was under the threat of this disease that the large juice industries created the Fundo de Defesa da Citricultura (Fundecitrus), which operates in the municipality of Araraquara, interior of São Paulo. 

“Not even in China, where orange has emerged has so much plague and disease [as in Brazil],” says the general manager of Fundecistrus, Juliano Ayres. 

After the cancer, came the attack of the CVC, also called the yellow one, which took the researchers’ sleep because they needed to understand the mechanisms of the bacteria. But no other problem was as devastating as greening, which arrived in Brazil in 2004 and so far leaves the producer in a constant state of alert.


In Brazil alone, greening has caused the destruction of more than 56 million trees in the last 15 years. This is a disease that has no cure. It spreads through a tiny insect, the psilid, which is only 3 mm long and has been frequenting Brazilian orchards for a long time. The insect had been present in orange production since the 1930s, but it was only in 2004 that it acquired the bacteria that caused the disease and the psilid became the transmitter.

 The disease disrupts the circulation of the plant’s “blood”, the sap. In Brazil, 37 million orange trees in production are greening, which corresponds to 19% of the so-called citrus belt, which covers part of the states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais. The initial symptoms of the disease is the yellowing of the branches. The leaves are also yellowing and the fruit cannot develop, it becomes small and withered. “It is a slow and progressive death”, summarizes the agronomist of Fundecitrus Luís Henrique Scandelai.

With the early fall of the fruits, at least 32 million boxes stopped going to the industry in the last three harvests, because of the greening. And eliminating diseased plants is one of the best practices to control greening. The survival of the activity also depends on the replacement of older plants.

By Admin | November 20, 2019 | Good Practices | 0 comments



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