The rapid expansion and integration of international trade, increased tourism, and changes in methods of production in recent decades have increased the likelihood of the introduction of invasive species to U.S. agriculture. Invasive species can have adverse environmental and/or economic impacts when introduced to a region. Economic impacts include marketing, production, and trade implications.

One such invasive species imposing adverse economic impacts to the Florida citrus industry is a bacterial disease known as citrus canker (Xanthomonas axanopodis pv. citri). Citrus canker causes lesions on the leaves, stems, and fruit of citrus trees. The disease adversely affects the proportion of fruit intended for the fresh market, serves to weaken citrus trees, leads to a reduction in yields, and leads to higher costs of production.

Florida’s Citrus Canker Eradication Program (CCEP) was implemented in the mid-1990s in an attempt to establish the guidelines for averting the spread of the disease. Currently there is no available biological or chemical cure for citrus canker. The CCEP instituted a policy of immediate eradication of any tree infected with citrus canker. Based upon the research by Gottwald et al., 2002, the CCEP also stipulated that all trees within a radius of 1900 feet of any infected trees be eradicated. Eradication is mandatory in such situations even if the trees within this radius do not yet show signs of infection. In addition to eradication, the CCEP defined additional regulations such as the decontamination of grove workers, field equipment, and packinghouses with approved chemicals (Chung et al., 2002).

In 2004, an economic/benefit-cost analysis of the CCEP was conducted using the predicted values of the benefits and the costs associated with the policy. The actual expenditures of implementation through 2004 were weighed against the projected loss of revenue and the cost savings associated with an industry with pervasive citrus canker in an attempt to assess the net benefits of the policy.

In this paper, a summary of the CCEP cost benefit analysis will be discussed. Three segments of Florida’s citrus industry were analyzed separately: 1) processed oranges; 2) fresh and processed grapefruit; and 3) specialty citrus fruit. An example will also be discussed which estimates the cumulative 15-year net grower returns for processed Hamlin and Valencia oranges which compares a no citrus canker situation with four possible endemic citrus canker fruit loss situations that include the additional grower costs to manage citrus canker.

Note: The summary discussion presented in this paper on the economic impact of Florida’s citrus canker eradication program (CCEP) was completed in June–July 2004 prior to hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne, and in 2005 hurricane Wilma spreading citrus canker across Florida’s commercial citrus acreage. Updating economic impact of the CCEP to reflect the impact of the hurricanes is currently being planned.

Paper published with permission.

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