Brazil’s Cutrale to expand to new state to avoid orange disease, government says

Brazil’s Cutrale group, a leading global supplier of orange juice, will invest 500 million real ($100.55 million) to plant the fruit in Mato Grosso do Sul state in a bid to expand into regions with lower pressure from greening disease, according to state authorities.

The cureless disease has partly damaged trees in Brazil and destroyed most of them in the United States, causing orange juice prices to skyrocket.

The government of Mato Grosso do Sul, in Brazil’s center-west, said the company will plant 5,000 hectares with oranges in the town of Sidrolandia, according to a statement late on Wednesday.

Mato Grosso do Sul said Cutrale is expected to plant 1.73 million orange trees on irrigated fields there, adding in the future the company could set up a processing facility in the area.

Cutrale confirmed to Reuters it “met with the government of Mato Grosso do Sul to discuss investments in the region’s citrus industry.” But the company added it could not elaborate on the tentative project, making the timeline for implementation of the fields unclear.

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Reporting by Roberto Samora; Writing by Ana Mano; Editing by Aurora Ellis via Reuters

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