(1) The Legislature declares that the production and utilization of tropical fruits is an underdeveloped agricultural commodity enterprise in this state. The Legislature recognizes that Florida possesses many resources and geographic advantages, particularly a marine subtropical climate, that favor the expansion and growth of present-day tropical fruits into a broad-based industry. The growth potential of the present industry offers good opportunities for local economic development and supply trade. Development of tropical fruits is compatible with the economies, lifestyles, and interests of both rural and urban Florida.
(2) Further, the Legislature finds that factors, such as minimal new tropical fruit cultivar development, lack of printed production and processing information, minimal understanding of tropical fruit processing requirements, lack of fresh fruit handling and processing technology, lack of quality standards for fresh fruit, lack of assistance and printed information for overall business planning and marketing, and lack of coordination of the many diverse interests and expertise which could contribute to the further development of tropical fruit in the state are inhibitory to the future development of the tropical fruit industry.
(3) The Legislature further declares that, in order to effectively support the efficient and expeditious development and growth of tropical fruit into a broad-based, economically sound industry, there is a need for leadership and a South Florida Tropical Fruit Plan.
(4) The Legislature further declares that the term “tropical fruit” as used in this act does not include citrus fruit as defined in s. 601.03, limes, or avocados.