EU's citrus production set to rise 8% over last year

June 19 , 2019

The European Union's citrus production for the 2018/19 marketing year (MY) is projected to reach 11.6 million metric tons (MMT), an 8% rise compared to last year, says the USDA.

This figure is consistent with previous estimates, it adds.

The regional increase is due to an expected rebound in Spanish production, the EU’s main citrus producer. What's more, favorable weather conditions facilitated good flowering and fruit setting.

Looking at specifics, Spain expects a 14.6% increase in citrus production from the previous year at 7.3 MMT, which is 0.4% higher than previous estimates.

As far as political moves that have affected the industry, Spanish growers protested against the European Commission in February of 2019. They argued that the rise in EU imports of South African citrus had lowered EU prices.

However, the rebound of EU citrus production may result in a reduction in EU citrus imports.

Looking at the EU's strategic market destinations, they continue to be Canada, the Middle East and China.

Orange production

EU orange production is concentrated in the Mediterranean region.

Spain and Italy represent 80% of the EU’s total production of oranges. Meanwhile, the remaining 20% is distributed among other Member States (MS), such as Greece and Portugal.

For MY 2018/19 (October through September), the USDA forecasts EU orange production to reach 6.5 MMT. This figure matches the previous estimation and  is 4% higher than MY 2017/18.

The larger production is expected mainly in Spain and Portugal.

Spain is the primary orange producer in the EU. According to industry sources, Spain’s MY 2018/19 orange production is forecast at 3.7 MMT, a 10.7% rise compared to the previous season and remaining stable compared to the previous estimates.

The growth in Spanish orange production is due to favorable conditions resulting in good fruit setting, despite the continuous reduction of the Spanish citrus area.

In the last eight years, Spain has reduced its orange planted area by almost 9%.

Despite this, the planted area for oranges in Spain in 2018 was still the highest orange planted area in the EU, at 139,878 hectares (ha).

Tangerine Production

MY 2018/19 EU tangerine production is forecast to rise 16% from the previous year, to 3.4 MMT and stable with the previous estimations.

Favorable weather conditions during spring and summer in the EU’s main producing areas, Spain and Italy, account for the rise in total production.

Fruit quality is forecast to be excellent.

In the last eight years, EU has reduced its tangerine planted area by almost 9%.

In 2018, EU planted area for tangerine stood at 154,987 ha. During this period, the major EU tangerine producer, Spain, decreased its tangerine planted area by 10.5% to 107,520 ha.

Lemon Production

MY 2018/19 EU lemon production is forecast to grow 10% and stable compared with previous estimates.

The overall growth is due to the strong production rise expected in Spain, the largest lemon EU producer.

According to the latest data from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food (MAPA), Spain’s MY 2018/19 lemon production is forecast at 1.1 million MT. This will be an increase of 19% compared to the previous year.

Favorable weather conditions have resulted in good flowering and fruit setting.

It's worth noting that, in recent years, Spain has increased its total planted area for lemons.

What's more, the USDA forecasts that the country's fruit quality will be excellent.

In addition, data shows Fino lemon volumes are expected to increase by 14% due to the entry of new plantations over the last years.

Verna lemon volumes are expected to rebound; increasing by 90% as production of Verna lemon in the previous season was shorter than normal levels.

Spain will continue to consolidate its leading commercial position in Europe with quality and phytosanitary guarantees.

Following Argentina, Spain is the second largest lemon producer in the world but the first global exporter of lemons for fresh consumption.

Spanish lemon production is concentrated in the regions of Murcia and Valencia, and the Provinces of Malaga and Almeria in Andalusia.

Fino and Verna are the leading lemon varieties grown in Spain. What's more, they account for 70% and 30% of the total production, respectively.

Grapefruit Production

MY 2018/19 EU grapefruit production is forecast to go up 2.8% compared to the previous season to 110,000 MT.

A projected increase in Spanish production, EU’s main grapefruit producer, accounts for the growth in total EU production.

According to the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Spain’s MY 2018/19 grapefruit production is forecast to grow 3.8% due to regular flowering and fruit setting.

Leading grapefruit producing areas include the Regions of Murcia, Andalusia, and Valencia. Ruby Red is the main grapefruit variety growers plant in Spain.

Cyprus is the second largest grapefruit producer in the EU.

White Marsh Seedless, mostly grown in the Limassol area, is the leading Cypriot grapefruit variety.

In MY 2018/19, the USDA expects Cypriot grapefruit production to remain stable. It predicts the same for the rest of the main EU grapefruit producers as well.

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