EU citrus production poised to grow in 2020-21 campaign

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EU citrus production poised to grow in 2020-21 campaign

EU citrus production is projected to grow 7.5 percent year on year from last season at 11.4 million metric tons (MT), according to a USDA report.

This is reportedly largely the result of a combination of favorable climatic conditions in the EU’s major citrus-producing countries.

It is predicted that EU citrus exports will remain dynamic while imports will diminish due to the estimated supply growth.

Orange production, specifically, will be up by 5.6 percent with 6.5 million MT for the 2020-21 commercial year. Mandarin production is also predicted to see growth, rising by 10 percent to reach 3.1 million MT.

As for other citrus fruits, it is anticipated that lemon production in the EU will grow by 11 percent to 1.6 million MT while grapefruit production will stay stable at 96,000MT.

The total planted area of both lemons and grapefruit increased during the 2019-20 year, rising by nine and six percent respectively. This is primarily attributed to growth in Spain which arose as a result of increased demand in the world market.

The recovery of EU production and the heightened global demand for citrus, which comes as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, could encourage EU exports to strategic markets while discouraging imports.

These markets continue to be Canada, the Middle East, and China, followed by Switzerland, Norway, and Serbia.

However, the report does predict some obstacles. It is expected that additional tariffs related to the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ongoing cases against airplane subsidies will continue to affect the citrus trade. 

In terms of consumption, the 2019-20 EU citrus season saw a marked increase despite the Covid-19 pandemic. This was due to consumers looking to buy foods which would strengthen their immune system and resulted in a dynamic citrus market and peak prices.

This growth, combined with less EU citrus supply in the last season, pushed a price spike for European citrus in 2020.

Additionally, in response to consumer demands, producers are implementing sustainable production and packaging methods.

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