The Valencia orange, an iconic California fruit, is facing some severe decreases in production in the Southern California region, the Los Angeles Times is reporting.
Groves in Pauma Valley have been experiencing trouble maintaining orange growth due to high water prices and water cutbacks, with some groves shutting down altogether.
Water issues aren’t the only problem. A bacterial disease called huanglongbing, is fatal for trees and can destroy Valencia orange groves. Spread by an insect called the Asian citrus psyllid, the bacterial disease will affect many growers in the region.
Larger growers have joined to implement large scale spraying to kill the insects in an effort to hamper the disease, but the long-term success of this method is relatively unknown.
38,000 acres of Valencia orange groves remain, and production is declining for a number of reasons including competition from imported fruits and an increase in the demand for packaged citrus products, as well as the environmental causes.
Florida, another state that produces the fruit, has experienced similar, though not identical problems in their orange groves.