Soft citrus a bright spot in Northern Hemisphere citrus production forecast

Soft citrus a bright spot in Northern Hemisphere citrus production forecast

Soft citrus is the only category expected to see a year-on-year rise in Northern Hemisphere citrus production in the 2020-21 season, according to a new forecast.

The World Citrus Organization (WCO) said that the preliminary forecast for total citrus production in nine key countries is set to fall by 1% to 28.7m metric tons (MT).

This decreased volume is the result of an off-bearing year in some countries as well as the impact of the droughts recorded in several production regions, the WCO said in a release.

Most citrus categories showed decreases in production, according to the estimate. Orange is expected to decrease by 2%, lemon by 7% and grapefruit by 9%.

However, soft citrus is expected to see a 5% uptick.

The preliminary forecast is collected from industry associations in Egypt, Greece, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey and the U.S. (California and Florida)

Looking at production by region, European production is expected to experience an increase in volume, with 12% increases recorded for both Italy and Spain, respectively, and a 1% decrease for Greece.

In the Southern rim of the Mediterranean, crop forecasts for Egypt (-8%), Israel (-4%) and Turkey (-15%) have been lowered compared to 2019 volumes.

On the other hand, Morocco and Tunisia are forecasting increases in their citrus crops this year, by 13% and 20% respectively compared to 2019 figures.

On its side, the U.S. production is expected to decrease by 9% compared to the previous year, with California lowering its forecast by 5% and Florida by 14%.

Orange production in the Northern Hemisphere is expected to come in at 16.1m MT, down from 16.4m MT. 

Soft citrus production is set to rise to 8m MT from 7.6m MT.

Orange production is expected to fall to 3.8m MT, down from 4.1m MT. 

Grapefruit production is set to drop to 788,000MT from 867,000MT.