THE SECTOR   CITRUSBR
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Orange in the groves


Good conditions of climate and soil, advanced agricultural techniques and high productivity of the culture, besides all infrastructure of citrus sector, contribute to make Brazil the leader in orange production (26% of share), the major orange juice producer (53% of share) and the greatest orange juice exporter in the world, with more than 85% of OJ exports. Behind this leadership, there is a complex chain that starts in Brazilian fields. See below the production process from the groves to the juice industry.

Orange Grove

Once the grower decides to plant an orange tree, it will take him at least 3 years to obtain the first fruit and almost 10 to the tree achieve maturity. After approximately 30 years, the commercial life of the orange tree comes to its end, being necessary to plant new seeds. Becoming a citrus grower is, then, a long-term planning that requires technical qualification and investment to make the activity profitable.

The planting of different orange varieties enables Brazil to produce the fruit along all year, with its season lasting from July to June of the next year. The development of citrus seed that can attend the market demands, the use of fertile-irrigation, the staunch combat to citrus plagues and modern planting techniques contribute to the production of high-quality fruits, produced according to demanding international patterns.

Harvesting: Hand-picked oranges

Oranges from the same tree not necessarily ripen at the same time. For that reason, in Brazil, the orange harvesting is 100% hand-made, with an experienced picker harvesting into 3,000 kg of oranges a day. At the harvesting period, temporary workers are hired for this activity (during 2009/10 season, 94,000 workers were hired in Brazil). The contracts cope with Brazilian labor legislation and individual protection equipment is given to each worker, assuring his/her security in the activity.

From groves to industry

After harvesting, orange fruit may be delivered to local or external consumer marketing, as fruit, or to the processing industry, which will use the fruit to the production of juice, citric acid, essential oils, among other by-products. In both cases, it is common that the orange production is delivered to an intermediate agent between growers and industries: the packing houses, beneficial unities that receive the fruit harvested and make its cleaning, selecting, and packing before being delivered to wholesale or retail markets for ready-consumption or to the industry as raw material.