Sour times for China’s sugar orange producers
The sugar orange farmers of China’s main production area, Guangxi, are not happy with the current state of the market, with prices far lower than the average of recent years. Moreover, due to frosts, this season’s sugar orange quality is below average, and farmers are looking for good prices. This has resulted in many of them being reluctant to sell, thereby missing the opening of the season. This could well result in an oversupply and further downward pressure on prices, with wholesale prices even being lower than the purchase price at origin.
One of the explanations for the current situation is that in recent years, the high prices of sugar oranges have allowed farmers to get rich quickly. According to media reports, in 2017, among the 72 villagers of a village in Lipu County, more than 30 households earned an income of more than 1 million yuan (US$158,000). However, this was to a large extent due to the shortfall in supply.
Guangxi Guilin introduced sugar orange cultivation in 2000. From 2013, the price climbed from one yuan per catty (600g) to 6 yuan by 2015. According to reports, local sugar orange supplies have not sold out even at the costs of 1.5 yuan a catty.