Citrus Australia have revealed a brutal reality: If things don't change, there will be no Australian orange juice on shelves in as little as five years.
They are calling on major retailers to lift prices to juice growers, who are facing a decline in production from seasonal conditions.
Redbelly Citrus' Vito Mancini added to their calls, but also said a lack of transparency from the processing sector has knee-capped growers, who are unable to plan for future viability.
This season, crop production is estimated to be down by 45 per cent in the Riverina, around 60,000 tonnes less.
The decrease in production was caused by frosts in September and October followed by two heat waves over the Christmas and New Year period.
Some growers have made the difficult decision to downsize, unable to make a profit and operating on a loss of hundreds of dollars a tonne with the ever-increasing cost of water.
Citrus Australia CEO Nathan Hancock says prices paid for fresh juice by supermarkets to juice companies does not reflect the seasonal environmental impacts.
"The juice growing industry is under immense pressure and Australian consumers may not have access to fresh Australian orange juice in as little as five years," Mr Hancock said.
We implore our major retailers to recognise the impact seasonal conditions are having on our growers and to lift their prices accordingly.Nathan Hancock
"We implore our major retailers to recognise the impact seasonal conditions are having on our growers and to lift their prices accordingly."
Yet the change needs to happen across the board according to Mr Mancini, who says juicing companies need to improve communication with their growers.
"We urge the processing sector to really engage with growers to help develop a plan for the future of the juice sector," he said.
Last December, juicing companies offered growers $280 per tonne for Valencias, and were painting a poor picture of future prices. Yet just six weeks later, the price virtually doubled, he said.
"That is the confusion there. A lot of growers enjoy growing juicing oranges as it works in with their business models, but we need the confidence that we aren't going to be left behind.
There will always be a home for juicing in this region as we produce the best juicing fruit in the world, but time will tell if the profitability from production is there for the growers to continue.Vito Mancini
"There will always be a home for juicing in this region as we produce the best juicing fruit in the world, but time will tell if the profitability from production is there for the growers to continue."
"In 2018, we launched the Lion Orchard Pride program, which is a unique sustainability program that offers our orange grower partners ways to measure, evaluate and improve key areas of sustainability on their orchard," a spokeswoman said.
While not saying if more could be offered to growers to plan for their future, they said contracts were offered to their growers for up to three years, and sometimes five.