Mexico citrus exports to hold steady, USDA says
The harvest of Mexican oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits will produce slight gains in volumes in 2010-11 but exports will likely hold at current levels, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in its annual Mexico citrus report.
The production of oranges will likely reach 4.1 million metric tons (MT) in 2010-11 compared to 2001-10 estimates of 3.6 million MT. Dry weather in 2009-10 took a toll on orange production especially in the states of Veracruz and Nuevo Leon. The planted area for oranges is expected to increase marginally to 340,200 hectares over 349,000 hectares last year.
Growers in Baja California Sur, Conora and Yucatan have planted more oranges trees to phase out lower yielding trees while others are dropping oranges altogether due to high production costs, unfavorable weather conditions, an unstable price and distribution problems.
Exports of oranges will be similar to 2009-10 levels, the report said without providing hard data.
In the case of limes and lemons, production is forecast at 1.88 million MMT, a slight increase over 2009-10 the season. The planted area for limes, especially Key and Persian varieties, has increased due to high international prices and few phytosanitary concerns.
The USDA does believe that imports into the US will be affected by a policy decision to clamp down on sweet orange scab disease, which blocked entry of limes in December. Growers have answered by refusing to ship after new guidelines were reached.
In the case of grapefruit some 430,000 MT of the fruit are expected from the 2010-11 harvest, nearly flat on the 426,000 MT yield in 2009-10.