Spain’s 2017/18 citrus crop showed an increase across the board from 2016/17 figures, especially in the satsumas category (+32.3%). According to data published by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, there were also increased production volumes of lemons (+17.6%), clementines (+14.8%), oranges (+11.2%), hybrid mandarins (+10.7%) and grapefruit (+3.9%). mandarin, in their first estimate.
Source: Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
The EU’s citrus production is projected to reach around 11.1 million tons in 2017/18, 2.4% higher than previous estimates had suggested, but still representing an overall fall of 6.3% from 2016/17. The reduction stems from production drops in the main citrus-growing regions, with Spain and Italy expecting a 10% and 3.6% fall respectively. Together, Spain and Italy account for 80% of the region’s orange production. The main reasons for the decline are the drought and high temperatures recorded in 2017. The main markets for EU citrus exports remain China, the Middle East and Canada. Meanwhile, exports to the US continue to fall, with the exception of lemons.
The outlook for EU orange production has improved, leading to production estimates revised upwards by 2.5%, to 6,420 million tons. Nevertheless, the region’s orange output for 2017/18 is expected to be 5.2% lower than in 2016/17 due to adverse weather conditions and the natural alternation of citrus crops. It also experienced irregular flowering as a result of high temperatures during the fruit setting phase in spring 2017. Thanks to the autumn rainfall, fruit quality and sizes are expected to be good. The area planted with orange continues to fall, especially in Spain and Italy. Spain’s production fell mainly due to the natural alternation of the citrus crops,
Spanish producers try to cover the whole marketing year with both early and late varieties, including Naveline, Navel, Navelate, Salustiane, Valencia and Sanguinello. However, following years of an economic crisis in the orange sector, orange production is now being substituted with more profitable crops.
Italian producers mainly grow Tarocco, Moro, Sanguinello, Naveline, and Valencia varieties, while Ippolito and Meli cultivars are gaining popularity. Despite a 6% drop in output, Italy’s 2017/18 orange campaign is expected to see exceptional levels of quality. Fruit sizes are expected to be small and medium.
Abundant rainfall has increased water availability in Chile and allowed an expansion in the area planted of citrus. Likewise, citrus exports are expected to increase by 17% for the 2017-2018 season, according to the Citrus Committee of Chile-ASOEX. The greatest increase to will be for tangerines (+32%, 101,000 tons), followed by oranges (84,000 tons, +12%) and clementines (52,000 tons, +27%). Lemon exports will also rise by 1% to 78,100 tons.
The main driver of increased export volume of mandarins is the entry into production of new orchards, helped by the greater availability of water following last winter’s rains.
Following a surge in shipments in April and May, Chile’s fresh apples exports in the 2017/18 campaign are expected to reach 731,000 tons, which is roughly considered a normal year’s volumes. Pear exports are expected to decline by 6.6% to 140,000 tons, while the country’s table grape exports are projected to reach 720,000 tons, slipping 1.5% from the 2016/17 level.
With abundant rainfall during the winter and water reservoirs at full capacity, enough water has now been stored up to meet the irrigation needs of the next five campaigns. Yields are expected to reach average levels of a normal year. Total planted area of apple has fallen slightly in the last three years, from 36,206 ha in 2015/16 to 35,937 ha in 2017/18 . Apple producers are converting Fuji orchards into more productive varieties such as Envy, Brookfield, Rosy Glow or Ambrosia, which are demanded by the export markets because of their superior taste, colour, post-harvest and extended shelf life.
Domestic consumption of fresh apples is expected to reach 240,000 tons in 2017/18, which is 24% of the total crop. A further 19% (300,000 tons) is used for processing, with the remaining 58% destined for export. The largest market for Chilean apples is the US, followed by Colombia and Taiwan. Largely as a result of the early harvest, exports of fresh apples in 2016/17 plummeted 35.9% The 2017/18 campaign in contrast has been a regular year and harvest times for the different apple varieties have not been early or delayed.
A severe drought is currently affecting South Africa’s Western Cape region, which accounts for around 80% of the country’s apple and pear production. The lack of winter rainfall in 2017 and the low dam levels (about 20%) will lead to a shortfall of irrigation water in the 2017/18 MY by as much as 60% and an inevitable loss of fruit production. Indeed, apple production is expected to fall by 11% to 800,000 tons. Besides the drought, these lower volumes are also due to a contraction in production area and fruit damage caused by hail, windstorms and severe sunburn. With lower fruit quality, apple exports are expected to drop by 12% to 485,000 tons. Likewise, pear production in 2017/18 is predicted to be 7% lower (400,000 tons) and exports are expected to fall by 10% to 240,000 MT.
French apple exports to the EU have risen sharply in the past seven months due to the dramatic fall in the production of Member States. Apple exports to Germany have doubled this season. Despite a decline in the French crop, French apple exports reached 355,281 tons to all destinations in the first seven months of the 2017-2018 campaign, representing a 2% rise and close to the five-year average.
Rising demand and falling imports are favouring higher prices on the domestic market (+ 12% compared to the previous season). Despite the fall in the French harvest in 2017, sales rose by 7%. Spring frosts meant that the French 2017 apple crop fell by 3% to 1.47 million tons – the lowest level since 2012. The decline in production mainly concerns the South-East regions, which were affected by both freezing temperatures and a summer heat wave. Output in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and PACA fell by 12% and 10% respectively. This fall in production mainly concerned Golden varieties (-18%) and two-colour varieties. The freeze also led to losses in Italy, Germany, Belgium and Poland, resulting in European apple stocks, as of 1 March 2018, being 37% lower than at the same time last year and 33% below the five-year average, according to WAPA
The Association of Fruit Exporters of Chile AG (ASOEX) has announced that the country’s exports of nectarines and peaches in the 2017-2018 campaign rose 11.4% from the previous year, reaching a total of 98,200 tons. Nectarines accounted for 66,940 tons, which is 8% more than last season. Peaches contributed 31,260 tons – up 20% from last season.
Chile’s peach exports are mainly destined for North America (60%) followed by Latin America (35%). The picture is a little different for nectarines, with North America remaining the first destination (34%), followed closely by the Far East (31%), where shipments increased by 51% compared to last season. This boost in exports to the Far East no doubt relates to Chilean fruit gaining access to the Chinese market in February 2017.
Chile’s top-five exporters of nectarines and peaches accounted for 46% of the total shipment volumes. They were Gesex S.A. (1,780,600 boxes), followed by Verfrut S.A (1,172,932 boxes), Greenvic (862,963 boxes), Geofrut (817,392 boxes) and Lo Garcés (617,852 boxes).
The area of endive production in France is 4% higher than during the 2016-17 campaign, standing at 9,300 ha. However, the acreage remains 4% lower than the five-year average. Estimates for the endive harvest are of 146,600 tons, which is 16% above the average of the last five seasons. Despite the high volumes, endive prices remain above average. In March 2018, they were 8% higher than they were a year previously and 26% above the 2012-2016 average for the same month.
The 2016-2017 endive season ended with high prices (25% above average). The 2017-2018 season kicked off with prices in September that were 19% above the five-year average and remained stable until February, when they slipped slightly, before recovering in March to a level that was 8% higher than the previous year’s March and 26% above average.
Average monthly prices paid to the producer
Exports fell in the first half of the season by 27% to 7,100 tons, while imports grew by 16% to 1,900 tons.
The decline in US citrus production shows no sign of abating. This campaign’s crop of 6.2 million tons is expected to be 21% lower than last season. The reduction in output is common to all of the major citrus fruits, with orange and grapefruit the most affected. Indeed, orange production is set to fall by 25% and grapefruit volumes by 22%. Likewise, the decline is common to all of the four largest producing states, with Florida being the most affected due to the damage wreaked by Hurricane Irma. The low supplies are leading to higher citrus prices in the domestic market.
Estimates for Spain’s citrus crop production for the 2017-18 campaign point to a general decline in output for all crops. The reduction in output is expected to be especially marked in tangerine group, where the fall is estimated at 16.1%, mainly due to the decline in satsumas (-29.7%) and clementine (-18.7%). Likewise, smaller reductions are forecast for orange (-10.6%), lemon (-8.8%) and grapefruit (-5.8%).
Forecast for Spain’s citrus production in 2017/2018 season
Source: Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture