Peruvian citrus to send more exports this year
March marks the start of the Peruvian citrus season and as things heat up, president of Peru's Citrus Producer's Association Procitrus Sergio del Castillo told FreshFruitPortal.com about challenges and expectations for the upcoming season.
The competitive nature of markets abroad is the industry's biggest challenge, noted del Castillo. To face this, Peru's growers must "improve percentages of fruit that is able to be exported and develop applied research to improve the quality of their product", he explained.
The Latin American country is investing quite a bit in creating worthwhile collaboration throughout the citrus supply chain and is committed to "improving pest control and sustainability" in production. It also says
"The future demands that we develop a citrus industry that not only produces high quality fruit, but that is also economically, socially and environmentally sustainable," detailed del Castillo.
With regards to figures for the season, Procitrus said that it expects volumes to be about on par with last year.
"Last year the industry grew 2% in production and this year we think that we'll see around 5% higher production," explained del Castillo.
Weather also looks like it will be favorable for the season and the industry anticipates strong quality and quantity as a result. Speaking to climate, del Castillo went on to point out the significance of climate related questions for the future of the Peruvian citrus industry.
"We haven't had water scarcity issues and the fruit quality up to this point has been good," he said.
Main destination markets for Peruvian citrus remain the U.S. - with 35% market share - the U.K. - 19% - and Holland - 16%. While these markets remain pretty consistent for the industry, exporters continue looking for new markets to gain entrance to.
Del Castillo let us no that while the industry isn't sure about what will happen in ongoing negiotiations, the industry "has been working on gaining access to India for two years and still hasn't had results".
Apart from the challenges associated with market access, Procitrus said that 2020's challenges also have to do with "the new regulations in Europe regarding fruit flies from South America that could create back-up for containers because of the increased checks that countries in the region are doing at their ports".
However, "other trade conditions remain in line with last season" and the citrus industry is hoping that it stays that way.
Looking towards the future, Procitrus also told us about the new citrus varieties that it has in the works. Projects and research into new varieties in the country are currently in the works, detailed del Castillo.
"In the past few years there has been a boom of hybrid cultivars of mandarins in Peru and they tend to be harvested later than some traditional varieties," he said.
Peru's most exported citrus are mandarins, representing 81% of all fruit in the category. Behind mandarins are oranges with 11% of all citrus exports and lime with 7%.
In the greater scheme of things, the country is trying to fight the loss of popularity of citrus in markets as the category has been experiencing difficulties. Procitrus said that it hopes to show how citrus is still exciting and relevant for consumers in upcoming marketing seasons.