Following the formal adoption of the organisation’s Statutes in March 2020, the WCO Secretariat just collected and released the first crop production and export forecasts for the forthcoming Southern Hemisphere citrus season 2020. The preliminary forecast is collected from industry associations in Argentina, Australia, Chile, Peru, South Africa, and Uruguay. The Secretariat is working closely with Brazil and Bolivia to include their data as well into the forecast very shortly.
The preliminary forecast shows that the 2020 citrus Southern Hemisphere crops is expected to reach 8.387.341 T, which represents a small decrease of 3% compared to the 2019 crop. Export is expected to increase by 12% to 3.486.883 T, which could be explained as a result of consumers’ higher demand for citrus fruit in COVID-19 times, thanks to the nutritional benefits associated with citrus and more home consumption. On the processing side, a total of 2.426.154 T of citrus are expected to be destined to the juice market (pending the confirmation of Brazil’s data), which constitutes a decrease of 15% compared to 2019.
By citrus categories, the soft citrus and lemon & lime markets show stable figures, with similar production volumes compared to 2019, whereas orange showed a small decrease (-6%), and grapefruit production increased by 3 percent compared to the previous year. Expected export volumes show increases across all categories, with lemon & lime projecting the greatest increase, by 32% compared to 2019.
WCO is now fully operational with a complete agenda of activities for 2020. In July, a meeting of the membership will review the state of the industry and take stock of the latest consumer trends and producing countries’ experiences in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Indeed, in the past months, citrus has been highlighted as one of the most attractive fruit categories for consumers, given their health properties. Consequently, the issue of nutrition and promotion of citrus consumption will also be discussed with members in the upcoming meeting.