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Audio ActualityGrowing papayas and other tropical fruit in the Central Valley
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» October 18, 2006 «
Testifying about unfair competition in the lemon-juice market, a California cooperative has convinced government agencies to investigate the matter. Sunkist Growers alleges that producers in Argentina and Mexico are "dumping" lemon juice on the U.S. market at unfairly low prices. The juice is used as an ingredient in other products. Sunkist markets most lemon juice produced in the United States, and says that unfair competition from abroad has caused sales to slump.
Most California-grown citrus fruit will be in smaller supply during the coming season. Government forecasts indicate production of navel oranges could drop 27 percent and will start late. That would leave a gap between the end of California's valencia orange season and the start of the navel harvest. Forecasters say grapefruit and lemon production will also be down, but that the harvest of mandarin varieties will increase.
Saying that farmers and government officials need more facts about E. coli, a research team is preparing to start a four-year search to find the sources of the bacteria in the Salinas Valley. Scientists from the University of California and the U.S. Agriculture Department will cooperate in the project. They will study thousands of samples of animal droppings, water and soil to learn how the bacteria may move. The study was planned before the E. coli outbreaks associated with spinach.
A California-grown slice of the tropics may begin arriving at farmers' markets around the state. A University of California farm advisor reports success growing papayas and guavas in the Central Valley. Farm advisor Manuel Jimenez says both crops can be grown in structures called hoop houses, which are essentially greenhouses without heat. He says production of papayas and guavas holds promise for farmers who seek additional produce to sell at farmers' markets.Top