The state of the Florida tropical fruit industry and the challenges growers face

Dewey Steele, Jonathan H. Crane

Abstract


The Tropical Fruit Growers of South Florida is a group of commercial growers who organized nearly 20 years ago to represent our industry. Chris Rollins, who is the current director of Miami Dade's Fruit and Spice Park, spearheaded the idea to form this organization. Chris saw that there were many growers who could benefit from a coalition that would become unified to support the tropical fruit industry. This group's mission would evolve into teaching members' how to be better growers through education, promoting the tropical fruit industry and working with the University of Florida Extension Service, the faculty at the Tropical Research and Education Center, and other governmental and private organizations to help our industry. We would also receive grants through the help of Tropical Fruit Advisory Council and further promote the industry with marketing initiatives. Since then, we have accomplished much, but face many challenges. Our growers have suffered from offshore competition, hurricanes and loss of farmland due to increasing development pressure. We now are exploring options and looking for innovative ways to stay competitive and further enhance our ability to keep Florida tropical fruit farming viable.

Keywords


avocado; mango; lychee; longan; papaya; guava; mamey sapote; carambola; sapodilla; jackfruit

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283