Mexican orange production could be almost cut in half by drought
Ongoing drought conditions in Mexico are likely to cut the country's orange crop almost in half this year, according to a USDA report.
The report also estimated that total lime production would fall as well, but not by as much as oranges.
Orange production in Mexico is forecast to fall by 45% to 2.54m metric tons (MT), which would be one of the lowest projected harvests since the early 1990s.
The ongoing drought and high temperatures have affected orange production more drastically than other citrus fruits because many orange trees are older and require more energy to produce fruit.
The intense temperatures and lack of rain throughout the growing season resulted in widespread fruit quality deterioration, with diminished size and quality in most orange producing states.
In the state of Veracruz, high temperatures were most problematic in October and November 2019. Rain typically
falls throughout the growing season but was concentrated in two months this marketing year, resulting in a shorter growing season.
Despite the production drop, orange exports are expected to remain "strong".
For limes - of which Mexico is the world's second-largest producer - the drought has also affected production, but not as much as oranges.
This can be attributed to newer plants and more widely available irrigation infrastructure. Persian lime trees in Veracruz are newer and more efficient, with 12 blooms per year.
There is not yet an official forecast for the 2019/20 lime production; but the USDA estimate is 2.19m MT, 9%
lower year-on-year due to intense drought affecting Veracruz, Tamaulipas, and Tabasco.