eFruit International, creator and operator of online marketplaces for buyers and sellers of agricultural commodities, announced today that it will be the first emarketplace to offer an online broadcast of the annual United States citrus crop forecast from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Streaming audio of the broadcast will be available at www.efruitinternational.com on Thursday, October 12 at 8:30 a.m. EST (GMT 12:30).

The annual citrus crop forecast is considered by many to be the official start of the citrus season, as the size of the crop affects the pricing of the fruit. The forecast is updated each month during the season to account for changes in crop size, yield and maturity.

"The forecast affects many of eFruit's members because of its effects on pricing, so we are pleased to offer the broadcast online for the first time," eFruit President Gordon Hunt said. "The broadcast reinforces our position as the one-stop-shop for industry information for our members."

eFruit is able to offer the broadcast due to a partnership with the Southeast AgNet Radio Network, which has hosted the broadcast on its radio network for the last three years. Also joining eFruit and Southeast AgNet in offering the online broadcast is the New York Board of Trade, a traditional sponsor of the radio broadcast.

All varieties of citrus, with the exception of K-Early citrus fruit and limes, are forecast on fruit counts and measurements. Portions of the annual forecast are prepared by the Florida Agricultural Statistics Service (FASS), a branch of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. During eFruit's online broadcast, Bob Terry of FASS will provide crop numbers from Washington, D.C. immediately upon their official release from the USDA. Industry reaction will be provided by both the Florida Department of Citrus and the New York Board of Trade.

About eFruit International

eFruit International specializes in creating and operating online marketplaces for buyers and sellers of agricultural commodities. The FreshMarketplace, an electronic marketplace for fresh fruit and vegetables, and the JuiceMarketplace, a marketplace for fruit juice, are both found at www.efruitinternational.com; eFruit's third marketplace, FruitProcurement, will begin beta-testing in fall, 2000. eFruit's marketplaces allow buyers and sellers to trade online, using a secure Internet site available only to subscribers. eFruit members can also book logistics services without leaving eFruit's online environment, track and print reports on product traded through eFruit's website, secure quality assurance services through Bureau Veritas, and read industry news and information supplied by The Food Institute. For more information on eFruit, visit www.efruitinternational.com or call (407) 352-8081.