Unprecedented Plague Has Hit Oranges and Bananas

What is causing all of these plagues to hit our food supply? Have you heard of citrus greening disease? Probably not, but it has already gotten so bad that it is being projected that Florida’s orange harvest will be the smallest in 30 years. Have you heard of TR4? Probably not, but it has become such a nightmare that some analysts believe that it could eventually wipe out the entire global supply of the type of bananas that Americans eat. In addition, another major plague is killing millions of our pigs, and a crippling drought that never seems to end is absolutely devastating agricultural production in the state of California. Are we just having bad luck, or is there something else to all of this?

Citrus greening disease has been a steadily growing problem that has reached epidemic levels this year. Because of this disease, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is projecting that orange production in the U.S. this year will be down 18 percent compared to last year. Here is more on this horrible plague from Yahoo News…

A citrus disease spread by a tiny insect has devastated Florida’s orange crop, which is expected to be the worst in nearly 30 years, and sent juice prices soaring on New York markets.

The culprit? The gnat-sized Asian citrus psyllid, which is infecting citrus trees across the Sunshine State with huanglongbing, or citrus greening disease, which causes fruit to taste bitter and fall from trees too soon.

“It feels we are losing the fight,” said Ellis Hunt, the head of a family-run citrus farm spread over about 5,000 acres (2,000 hectares) in the central Florida town of Lake Wales.

Another horrifying disease is threatening the global supply of bananas. In fact, according to a recent CNBC article, the kind of bananas that we eat today could eventually be totally eliminated by the TR4 fungus…

Banana lovers take note: The world’s supply of the fruit is under attack from a fungus strain that could wipe out the popular variety that Americans eat.

“It’s a very serious situation,” said Randy Ploetz, a professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida who in 1989 originally discovered a strain of Panama disease, called TR4, that may be growing into a serious threat to U.S. supplies of the fruit and Latin American producers.

“There’s nothing at this point that really keeps the fungus from spreading,” he said in an interview with CNBC.

While there are nearly 1,000 varieties of bananas, the most popular is the Cavendish, which accounts for 45 percent of the fruit’s global crop—and the one Americans mostly find in their supermarkets.

Another plague that is affecting our food supply is a virus known as porcine epidemic diarrhea. It has already spread to 27 different U.S. states and has already killed up to 6 million pigs since first being spotted in the U.S. last May.

As a result of this virus, pork production is going to be down substantially this year, and it is being estimated that Americans could pay up to 20 percent more for pork by the end of the year.