Hurricane Wilma damage and disruption is expected to push up prices of tomatoes, cucumbers, orange juice and other crops in the US.

Coming after many winter vegetable crops have been planted, the damage could harm up to 50% of the nation’s winter vegetable supply. Citrus production is at grave risk from canker, a disease that disfigures and weakens trees and can be spread far by the strong winds and rain from a hurricane. Canker destroyed 26,000 ha since last year and crops are even more vulnerable now due to the late maturing of trees because of last year’s storms.

Wilma’s impact comes just as Florida’s agriculture industry starts to recover from hurricanes last year that caused about US$2.5bn in damage.