Peace River Citrus Products and Scott Family Cos. and its partners plan to invest more than $25 million in planting a quarter million grapefruit trees in Florida, where citrus greening disease has caused production to plummet in recent years.
The trees will be planted on 1,500 acres in St. Lucie and River Counties, according to a news release.
This will be the first major planting of grapefruit since citrus greening, also known as huanglongbing (HLB), has decreased acreage in Florida, according to the release.
The two companies are looking to raise the Florida grapefruit crop by 15% once the groves mature, Andy Taylor, senior vice president and CFO of Peace River Citrus Products, said in the release.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis joined representatives of Peace River and Scott Family Cos. and it partners in celebrating the return of grapefruit groves.
“Since January, we’ve been dedicating resources and improving policies to make sure Florida’s citrus industry gets back on its feet, and today, we’ve surpassed the 50% milestone for this important funding,” DeSantis said in the release.
Through a partnership with Peace River, The Coca-Cola Co. is participating in the effort with an agreement to purchase processed grapefruit juice from fruit in the orchard, according to the release.
Japan-based Takasago International Corp. is also investing $1.5 million toward new tree plantings to ensure a sustainable grapefruit industry in Florida, according to the release.