Mexico’s 2020/21 orange crop is forecast to partially rebound after drought reduced last year’s crop by almost 40%, according to USDA data. While orange consumption is projected higher than last season’s level, it should remain below average levels due to the ongoing effects of COVID-19 sanitary measures that have affected the food service and hospitality channels. As a result, a greater proportion of fruit is expected to be sent to the processing industry. Residual soil health effects and low producer investments in orchard rehabilitation will prohibit full production recovery. Lack of government support for drought recovery, production inputs, and pest mitigation is likely to prevent significant sector growth in the coming years.
Exports in 2020/21 are forecast at 61,000 tons due to strong US demand for fresh consumption. Most oranges shipped to the US are Navel grown in Sonora, as the state is free of fruit fly. Imports are estimated at 30,000 tons, exclusively from the US, primarily for fresh consumption at the border region.
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Japan’s citrus crop is expected to recover in 2020/21 following a poor harvest in 2019/20, according to FAS/Tokyo data. Increased household consumption of oranges due to the COVID-19 pandemic is predicted to provide a modest boost to imports of fresh oranges. Following a COVID-19-related decline in food service demand in 2019/20 and resulting high levels of stocks, 2020/21 imports of lemons and orange juice are projected to plummet. Grapefruit demand continues to steadily slip.
In 2019/20, Japan increased imports of fresh tangerines by 11.3% to 21,031 tons, due to lower domestic production. This increase was primarily reflected in the summer tangerine imports from Australia, the second largest tangerine exporter to Japan. The US is the top exporter of fresh tangerines to Japan and supplies approximately 60% of Japan’s tangerine imports. A recovery of domestic summer fruit production is forecast in 2020/21, which should prompt a contraction in import volumes. Japan’s 2020/21 tangerine imports are expected to fall 9.6% to 19,000 tons, of which 12,000 tons will be from the US.
Photo: Aksun Company, Turkey
Turkey’s 2020/21 citrus crop is projected to fall from the levels of the previous year due to high temperatures in May 2020 during the blooming season, according to USDA data. While prices received by producers have not increased significantly, production costs such as fuel, fertilisers, labour have risen rapidly due to the weak currency and high inflation. Citrus exports in 2020/21 are expected to be down due to logistical problems with neighbouring countries and Saudi Arabian sanctions on Turkish products. Tangerines account for 34% of total citrus exports, followed by oranges (25%), lemons (24%) and grapefruit (17%). In 2019/20, the Russian market received 28% of Turkey’s citrus exports due to geographic proximity, strong logistical infrastructure, and high demand. Turkish citrus exports to the EU were up in 2019/20, but there was a shortage of immigrant labourers from North Africa as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Moroccan citrus production in 2020/21 is projected to surge by 32% to 2.3 million tons from the previous marketing year, according to FAS Rabat data. The increase in production is based on increased area planted/new plantings coming into full production, as well as new irrigation which offset the long drought in 2020. Tangerine/mandarin production is estimated to increase by 30% over the previous year to 1.2 million tons, orange production should increase by 27% to 1.1 million tons, and lemon/lime production is estimated to reach 44,000 tons.
Orange exports were down by 30% in 2019/20, due to drought in key growing areas. Shipments to the EU fell 23% compared to the previous campaign.
Brazil’s 2020/21 orange crop is projected to rise 14% from the previous year, reaching 16.93 million tons, according to FAS/Sao Paolo data. The forecast assumes normal weather conditions will prevail to support fruit setting and development of the second blossoming in the Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais commercial citrus belt. The current orange crop estimate was revised downward due to the low rainfall and high temperatures between September and October. Total Brazilian FCOJ 65 Brix equivalent exports for 2020/21 are forecast at 1.08 million tons, similar to the revised level figure for 2019/20.
Total fresh orange exports for MY 2020/21 are projected at 8,160 tons, according to data published by the Brazilian Secretariat of Foreign Trade (Secex). The majority of exports occur between June and December). Portugal, Italy, the UK, and France are the major export destinations for Brazil’s fresh orange exports.
Photo: Citrusvil Argentina
Argentina’s citrus sector is undergoing difficult times due to a drought that has reduced fruit size. Fresh lemon production for 2020/21 is projected to plummet by 30% to 1.03 million tons, according to FAS/Buenos Aires data. Lemons were particularly affected by low temperatures early in the growing season. The drought will limit orange and tangerine production increases to 700,000 tons and 360,000, which nevertheless represent 50,000 ton increases for both fruits compared to 2019/20.
Lemon exports in 2020/21 are projected to fall 23% to 190,000 tons, due to the smaller crop, larger Northern Hemisphere supply, strong competition from South Africa, and uncertainty regarding the EU measures to tackle Citrus Black Spot. Sweet citrus exports are estimated at 80,000 tons for oranges and 35,000 tons for tangerines, which are both significantly lower than historical levels. The country’s citrus sector is dealing with challenging domestic economic conditions, which have reduced Argentina’s ability to compete in export markets against other Southern Hemisphere exporters, especially South Africa.
Photo: Cítricos Rosegar
EU citrus production in 2020/21 is predicted to rise 7.5% to 11.4 million tons, due to favourable weather conditions, according to FAS/Europe. The 2019/20 EU citrus season saw an increase in citrus consumption and peak citrus prices. The recovery of EU production and higher global demand for citrus related to the COVID-19 pandemic may dampen EU imports. Strategic export markets destinations for EU citrus continue to be Canada, the Middle East, and China, followed by Switzerland, Norway, and Serbia. Additional tariffs are expected to continue impacting citrus trade with the US.
EU orange production is forecast 5.6% higher than the previous season at 6.5 million tons. Orange juice production in the EU is predicted to rise 8% to 87,987 tons. EU mandarin production is forecast to be up 10% to 3.1 million tons. Over the last decade, the EU’s total orange planted area has shrunk almost 12% and mandarin growing area by 10%. During this same period, EU lemon and grapefruit planted area grew by 9% and 6% respectively mainly due to the growth in Spain in response to global market demand.
In 2019/20, as a result of the decline in EU citrus production, EU imports of citrus grew slightly, mainly from South Africa, Egypt, and Morocco. EU citrus export destinations are mainly Switzerland, Norway, Canada, and Serbia, with significant rises in new third markets such as China and the Middle East. EU citrus exports are expected to continue to rise.
China’s 2020/21 pear crop is projected to fall almost 8% to 16 million tons, as frost hit the country’s main producing region, Hebei. Chinese consumers prefer crunchy Asian pears over western pear varieties. The low volumes of imported western pears from the EU and South Africa are mostly consumed by children and older people. The MY 2020/21 pear import forecast is 11,000 tons, according to FAS China data.
The planted area of pears is forecast at 940,000 hectares in MY 2020/21. Pear acreage has declined due to lower market returns and weak domestic demand, especially for traditional pear varieties such as Ya Pear, Snow Pear, and even Huangguan Pear, according to industry sources. However, pear acreage has expanded in some provinces for certain pear varieties, such as Su Pear, Fragrant Pear, Jade Pear, Autumn Moon Pear, Yulu Pear that are favoured by domestic consumers.
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The world’s largest apple producer, China’s 2020/21 crop is projected to drop almost 5% to 40.5 million tons due to frost damage in April in the major apple-growing areas of the north-western provinces of Shaanxi (-15%), Shanxi (-10%) and Gansu (-20%), according to USDA data.
Apples are among Chinese consumers’ favourite fruits, with per capita consumption higher than in most countries. Nevertheless, relatively little growth has been seen in recent years. The COVID-19 outbreak disrupted sales of apples held in storage, which resulted in 2.5 million tons of apple stocks at the beginning of 2020/21.Increasing domestic production has led to an oversupply of traditional varieties. Industry reports indicate that Chinese consumers prefer crunchy apples and are seeking new apple varieties, following the arrival of imports.
China’s apple imports are estimated to drop 23% to 80,000 tons in 2020/21 (July-June) as consumers have less purchasing power. Also, COVID-related disruptions in the first quarter of 2020 hit imports and have made importers cautious. Most apple imports are from the Southern Hemisphere (New Zealand, Chile, and South Africa).
China’s apple exports are expected to increase by 15% to 1.2 million tons in MY 2020/21, despite reduced supplies. China’s exported apples are shipped to Southeast Asian markets that are price sensitive and prefer smaller sized apples.
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China’s grape production is expected to rise 4% to around 11 million tons in MY 2020/21 due to continued enhancements in crop management techniques, according to a FAS China report. Following the economic slowdown brought about by Covid-19, fruit purchases have fallen, which will mean that imports are likely to decline in MY 2020/21. Domestic grapes have been substituted for imported grapes. However, the import of tropical fruit and fruit from Southern Hemisphere countries (during China’s off- season) is expected to remain relatively strong.
FAS China forecasts grape acreage at 728,000 hectares in MY 2020/21, slightly up from the previous year. Although grape area has stabilised, farmers have increased planting acreage of popular varieties such as Shine-Muscat, Summer Black, Jumbo Muscat, Gold Finger, and Crimson Seedless to replace traditional varieties such as Red Globe and Kyoho. Due to the rapid rise in production, the price of Shine-Muscat dropped more than 50% this year. However, this variety’s price remains high compared to traditional varieties.