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World orange crop slumps

World orange crop slumps, Source: USDA FAS

 

The world’s total orange production for the 2019/20 season is projected to drop 11% to 47.5 million tons due to unfavourable growing conditions in Brazil, Egypt, the European Union, and Morocco, according to USDA data.  As a result, consumption, fruit for processing, and fresh exports are also expected to plummet.

Brazil’s production is forecast to fall 22% to 15.1 million tons due to weather-related problems (warm temperatures and below-average rainfall after the first two blooms and fruit set). Oranges for processing are down 3.9 million tons to 10.4 million, while fresh orange consumption is lowered to 4.7 million tons, the lowest in 4 years. 

In contrast, China’s orange crop is estimated to climb slightly to 7.3 million due to favourable climatic conditions. Imports are up 3% as consumer demand is rising for premium, high-quality oranges.  Egypt and South Africa are the top suppliers to China, accounting for over 70% of imports.

US production is forecast to rise for the second consecutive year, albeit only by 1% to 4.9 million tons. Consumption, exports, and fruit for processing are all expected to be up in line with the larger crop.

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Global citrus crop shrinks

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The 2019/20 global citrus crop is down for all categories, except grapefruit. Orange production is down 11% to 47.5 million, due to weather-afflicted seasons in Brazil, the EU, Morocco and Egypt, with small increases in China and the US unable to compensate for these losses. The global mandarin crop is down 1% to 31.7 million tons, with drops in all major production regions, especially Turkey (-9%) except China.  The world’s lemon crop is estimated to be down 7% to 7.9 million tons, with Argentina (-11%), the EU (-13%), Turkey (-9%) and the US (16%) all suffering challenging seasons due to weather events. Mexico’s and South Africa’s lemon and lime production are both expected to be up. Lastly, grapefruit was the one citrus category that registered a larger crop in the 2019-20 campaign, with larger harvests in China, South Africa, Turkey and the US more than offsetting the 18% fall in the EU’s crop.

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Aznar Fruits adapts its entire range of produce to Bayer’s Food Chain programme

As Gregorio Aznar, manager of Aznar Fruits, points out: “Some of the goals for this campaign involved obtaining the GRASP certification, which we have already obtained, and continuing in the second half of the season with the same quality we've had so far, which has enabled us to cope quite well with a campaign that at first threatened big uncertainties due to international tensions that tend to affect the markets.”

The Spanish company Aznar Fruits, a citrus producer, has adapted the full extent of its production to Bayer’s Food Chain programme of healthy, safe and sustainable production. One of the initiatives carried out in this vein is pest monitoring, by which the fields are examined and when a particular pest is detected, a timely treatment is applied only to the affected area but not widely, fostering more sustainable production from an environmental point of view and one that is healthier for consumption.

However, this is not the only challenge this company from Almeria has taken on for this campaign; it has renewed the tractors on all of the farms and purchased new equipment to implement more effective kinds of treatment. They are also immersed in studying late clementine varieties to introduce them, though they are waiting to see what happens with the various patents.

Furthermore, as Gregorio Aznar, manager of Aznar Fruits, points out: “Some of the goals for this campaign involved obtaining the GRASP certification, which we have already obtained, and continuing in the second half of the season with the same quality we’ve had so far, which has enabled us to cope quite well with a campaign that at first threatened big uncertainties due to international tensions that tend to affect the markets.”

In addition to the GRASP certification and being in Bayer’s Food Chain programme, Aznar Fruits also has the Global-Gasp and IFS Food certifications for export and storage.

In terms of production, Gregorio Aznar says they expect to harvest 4,000 tons of lemons, 4,500 t of oranges and 3,500 t of clementines, which would mean about a 20% drop in oranges and clementines, and 5% in lemons “because last season was exceptional, well above average, and the trees were under a lot of pressure, so as a result this year the production is lower.”

Moreover, in a campaign in which the sanctions imposed by Russia against imports of various products from Europe, including citrus, are influencing the sector, “we are interested in expanding into Middle Eastern markets like Dubai or India, among others, and now with the Russian embargo the European markets are more saturated.” 95% of Aznar Fruits’ production is for export and its main export markets are Germany and Italy, though they reach all of Europe.