In a bid to encourage a closer collaboration between citrus growers and juice manufacturing customers, Cargill Citro Pure - a joint venture between Cargill Citro-America, a subsidiary of agri-giant Cargill, and 83 partners - has formed a supplier agreement with the Florida Grapefruit Marketing Association (FGMA) and Indian River Grapefruit Marketers (IRGM).
The three-year agreement, which aims to ensure a significant supply of white and coloured grapefruit for processing, should enhance citrus processing, product assurance and supply chain activities at its Fort Pierce, Florida plant, claims the company.
"This agreement enables Cargill Citro Pure to provide a more consistent supply of citrus products to meet the needs of our juice manufacturing customers, while ensuring a more reliable, competitive outlet for the fresh fruit packing houses and citrus growers who are participating in this initiative," said Tom Abrahamson, president of Cargill Citro Pure.
He added that the arrangement should provide a foundation for improved supply chain efficiencies, product assurance enhancements, and as a vehicle for greater collaboration across the supply chain that could lead to new processing and product innovations.
FGMA co-operative members - including IRGM - represent about 30 per cent of Florida's total grapefruit acreage. More than 90 per cent of that acreage lies in the premium growing area of the Indian River district.
The Cargill Citro Pure facility in Fort Pierce represents about 35 per cent of the total grapefruit processing capacity in Florida, claims the company, converting citrus fruit into the equivalent of "4.8 million glasses of juice daily and creating allied products ranging from oils and essences to cattle feed".