Egyptian citrus industry looking at "very strong season" - Vanguard
The new season of Egyptian citrus that started in mid November is expected to be a "very strong season, however likely not a record breaking one", according to Vanguard International.
Weather has affected growers differently depending which area their crops are in.
Certain citrus growers in the region are noting an increase in volume between 15 and 25% while others are recording a reduction of up to 40%.
"Even with the heat waves during bloom that affected flower set in some areas we are expecting a good size crop and for Egypt to remain the top orange exporter to the EU," said Neil Truter - Vanguard’s Quality Assurance and Grower Relations Manager in South Africa.
A smaller crop is synonymous with early timing and bigger fruit which is typical of the Egyptian crop this year; "we are seeing particularly large sizes on Navel types".
Navel, Valencia and Soft citrus are currently all in the market.
Peak sizes on Valencia are count 56/64 with less count 80/88. Brix is around 10.5 – 11% and the crop appears to be starting earlier than last season.
Soft citrus being packed now includes the Honey Murcott as well as Tango varieties. The brix range between size groups is from 9.6 to 11.6%.
The packing of soft citrus started earlier than last year, and Valencia will most likely end earlier as well, Truter said.
Investment in new plantings and improved infrastructure in all aspects of citrus production, "is starting to show its benefits and will aid in offsetting weather challenges affecting crop volumes," it said.
This season’s Egyptian citrus crops are estimated to come in with a decrease of 30% compared to last year, although this is a very general look at the total crop and the situation will likely be very different depending on the grower and in which region they are in.
"Last season was a near perfect one for citrus production and it helped Egypt become the top orange supplier to the EU," Truter said.
Navel and Valencia oranges are Egypt’s main citrus varieties accounting for 80% of their citrus export.
Egypt also opened new markets including New Zealand, Brazil, and Japan to help move the continuing volume growth.
South Africa however remains the top citrus exporter to the EU when adding grapefruit and lemons to these figures.