According to the Center for Advanced Studies on Applied Economics (CEPEA), a new heat wave in Brazil’s São Paulo state has been concerning citrus growers. Temperatures are higher than those registered in the last wave in September and are lasting longer. Many producers say that the weather may affect 2024–25 production, but it is still too early to estimate possible impacts.
Up until mid-November, high temperatures have been affecting areas with fruitlets. In the heat wave observed in September, areas with fruitlets (which had registered flowers in August) were the most affected, since weather conditions have caused fruitlets to fall.
Areas with late flowers (verified in less than 30 days) may also be damaged by the hot weather. These flowers blossomed earlier, and the development stage is more advanced. Moreover, citrus growers indicate possible impacts on bigger fruits, especially in trees with high incidence of greening, with less leaves and/or with bad nutrition.
Damages tend to be mitigated in irrigated areas since flowers are in a more advanced stage. However, these areas are located in the north of São Paulo state, where temperatures are usually higher.
Producers surveyed by CEPEA report impacts on the quality of 2023–24 season oranges. Many fruits are withered and sunburned, and consumers usually do not want to buy fruits with these conditions. In many cases, it is necessary to accelerate the harvest in order to avoid premature fruit fall.
The heat wave has also been affecting the Tahiti lime. Rains have not been frequent in major producing regions, so the supply has not increased in a significant way, and most fruits are small.
Despite the smaller size, producers have been harvesting fruits in order to take advantage of high prices and to avoid the hot weather that affects the quality even more.
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