EU citrus forecast down 10%
A recent USDA report has revised citrus production down for the EU this season, especially impacting lemons and oranges.
The reduced production is mainly driven by strong expected decreases in Spain, which accounts for approximately 65% of the EU’s total citrus production.
Spain faced an unfortunate combination of spring rains in 2022, which negatively impacted flowering and fruit set. And in early 2023, severe droughts furthered complications for farmers.
Additionally, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered an increase in input costs such as energy and compromised fertilizer availability, increasing its prices.
Consequently, Spain entered the 2022-23 season with an almost 18% decrease, the lowest level over the last decade.
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Overall EU orange production f is expected to decrease to 5.8 million metric tons (MT), a 13% reduction year-on-year. Lemon production is forecast at almost 1.5 million MT, down 10% compared to the previous season.
Lower production has resulted in higher prices, which ultimately led to a decline in domestic consumption.
Due to these shortages, orange exports are also projected to drop.
EU citrus production is concentrated in the Mediterranean region, with Spain and Italy leading the sector.
They are followed by Greece, Portugal, and Cyprus, with the first expecting a rebound for 2022-23.
Higher agricultural input costs, lack of economic productivity, and an agricultural labor deficit remain concerns for citrus producers across the EU.