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EU ends ban on Argentine citrus imports

EU ends ban on Argentine citrus imports © Plantaciones de Limon

© Plantaciones de Limon

 

The European Commission has lifted its ban on citrus imports from Argentina. Trade was suspended last August following a number of interceptions of Citrus Black Spot in shipments. Argentina’s plant health authority Senasa said the new measure would come into effect on 1 May.

Senasa’s president, Carlos Paz, said the lifting of the ban followed concerted efforts by the public and private sectors to strengthen control measures in the field and packhouse and increase the number of staff on its regional teams in order to improve the monitoring and supervision of citrus exports.

Citrus accounts for four out of every ten fruits that Argentina exports and the EU is one of its biggest markets, taking around 200,000 tons of citrus in the last five years.

The measures and conditions for the re-entry of citrus fruit to the EU include additional actions that must be carried out both by the different actors of the private and public sectors.

These include mandatory field application of phytosanitary treatments against Black Spot; official verification of the application of these treatments; laboratory analysis of the fruit sampled both in the field and in packaging when suspicious symptoms of the disease are detected; official communication to the EU of the lists of production units and names of the companies responsible for the units, as well as updates to these lists.

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Another record year for South Africa’s citrus exports 

Another record year for South Africa’s citrus exports 
Photo: Eurofresh Distribution

South Africa’s 2021 citrus exports are expected to set another record, driven largely by late  mandarins. The Citrus Growers Association of Southern Africa (CGA) estimates 158.7 million cartons will be shipped in 2021, compared to 146 million in 2020  and  130 million in 2019,  meaning a 22% export growth in just  two years.

Eswatini and  Zimbabwe combined have  also increased their export figures from  3.9 million cartons in 2020, to an estimated 4.4 million  cartons in 2021  – an increase of 13%. Navel  oranges and  lemons have  shown a small  increase since last  year, while  Valencia oranges (+5%) and  grapefruit (+16%) have  shown a stronger increase.

 

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Jump in Peru’s citrus exports 

Jump in Peru’s citrus exports 
Photo: Promperú

On the back of the pandemic, Peru exported 37% more citrus in 2020  than in 2019, with shipments reaching 244,000 tons, worth US$262 million, according to data released by the country’s Foreign Trade Research and Development Institute (Idexcam). 

In a statement, Idexcam said: “There is a growing demand for citrus, especially mandarins, due to their antioxidant properties and high content of vitamin C which strengthens the  immune system, creating a rebound of global  commercialisation.”

Mandarin exports were up 36% y-o-y to $250.4 million, with the main market being the US, followed by the Netherlands ($15 million), Canada ($17.8 million), China  ($15.7 million) and Russia ($13.2 million).

 

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Australian citrus bounces back!

Australian citrus bounces back!

Australia’s citrus crop is expected to bounce back in 2021 due to much-needed rains in 2020 in most citrus-producing regions. The 2020/21 orange crop is estimated at 535,000 tons, and tangerine/mandarin production is projected to reach 175,000 tons, both representing around a 10% rise from a difficult 2019/20, according to FAS/Canberra data. The citrus industry is concerned about labour availability during 2021 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Federal and state governments are working with the industry to try and mitigate this impact.

Orange exports are forecast at 195,000 tons, up 3% from 2019/20, while tangerine/mandarin exports are expected to surge by 29% to 80,000 tons. The major export destination for Australian oranges is China, accounting for 35-50% of the total. Total Chinese imports of oranges over the last five years have increased by 169%, which still falls some way short of Egypt’s growth in the Chinese market. Tense trade relations with China have created some concern among Australian citrus exporters.

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South Africa remains top source of citrus imports to EU

South Africa remains top source of citrus imports to EU © Eurofresh Distribution
© Eurofresh Distribution

 

The EU’s citrus imports hit a new high in 2020, with South Africa the number-one non-EU source of citrus, accounting for 44% of the total volume, according to data published by the Valencian Association of Farmers. The 2020 volume of 968,600 tons was up 24.8% from the previous season. The main growth segments are late mandarins, which coincide with early Valencian varieties. Egypt is in second position, with 334,350 tons (+16% from 2019). Turkey’s exports were up by 49.5% to 190,300 tons. Meanwhile, Morocco’s shipments fell, due to the drop in production caused by drought, while Argentina was subjected to an EU ban on imports of lemons and oranges after 133 interceptions of pests and diseases were recorded in their merchandise.

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Southern African citrus to reach new heights as 2021 export estimate is released

Southern African citrus to reach new heights as 2021 export estimate is released
PRESS RELEASE

The Citrus Growers Association of Southern Africa (CGA) is excited to announce that the South African citrus industry will likely break all previous export season records with an estimated 158.7 million cartons in 2021. If the estimate is reached, it would represent a third consecutive season of record export volumes, with 130 million cartons exported in 2019, followed by 146 million cartons in 2020. Our current projections for 2021 indicate a 22% growth in export figures in just 2 years.

Eswatini and Zimbabwe combined have also increased their export figures from 3.9 million cartons in 2020, to an estimated 4.4 million cartons in 2021 – an increase of 13%, bringing the total Southern African volume to be exported through our ports to more than 163 million cartons.

Navel oranges and lemons have shown a small increase since last year, while Valencia oranges (5%) and grapefruit (16%) have shown a stronger increase. Soft citrus producing regions are projected to show the most significant growth, with an estimated 30.5 million cartons for export in 2021, 29% up on last year. The Late Mandarin varieties in particular stand out within the soft citrus category, with an expected growth of 42% this year. That being said, the Soft Citrus Focus Group Chairperson has cautioned that these estimates may be adjusted downwards once the season gets underway, as the continued drought in the Eastern Cape and exceedingly wet conditions in the Northern growing regions may affect export volumes negatively.

Medium-term crop estimates indicate that the citrus industry is expected to continue increasing its exports by another 300 000 tons over the next three years. The growth projections for soft citrus, lemons and Valencia oranges alone indicate an expected additional R6.8 billion in foreign exchange earnings and the creation of 22 250 sustainable jobs over the next three years.

These figures indicate phenomenal growth within the South African citrus industry, and for our local economy. The demand for our produce overseas is a wonderful testament to the quality of South Africa’s citrus fruit. There is no doubt that citrus growers are investing heavily for the future, with more than R1-billion in grower levies over the next four years going into research and technology to support market access and transformation, while creating an enabling logistics environment to move the fruit.

To maximise the potential of the citrus industry as a South African export, we are going to need government and other stakeholders to play their part.  For example, we will be relying heavily on the efficiency of our ports in order to successfully ship the additional 13 million cartons estimated for this year alone. We will also need to work hand-in-hand with government to secure, maintain and retain as many market access opportunities as possible. Optimising access conditions will be essential for the continued growth of our industry.

The citrus industry will continue growing as a valuable source of both income and jobs while we work together with government and other stakeholders to help rebuild the South African economy. Increasing agricultural exports, creating jobs and investment in transformation are all fundamental ingredients of the South African citrus story. Together, we can and will continue to exceed expectations.

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Gocitrus webinar reveals potential of markers for varietal identification of citrus

Gocitrus webinar reveals potential of markers for varietal identification of citrus © Gocitrus

© Gocitrus

 

A webinar organised by the Gocitrus project concluded that marker technology is benefiting all links in the citrus plant breeding industry and that it will soon do so with other crops as well. The project presented results of a pilot test using an app with all the updated varietal and agronomic information to provide the citrus grower with the best variety-rootstock combination

The first mandarin to use markers as the basis for its varietal certification system is Tang Gold (Tango), from Eurosemillas. Gocitrus will facilitate the expansion of this technology: in 2021 it will obtain the differential DNA sequence of more than 25% of mandarins and 10% of oranges. 

The term PCR that is in common use today and refers to the most reliable diagnostic method to detect Covid-19 is based on the same technology that is turning the world of the exploitation of vegetable varieties of citrus. Indeed, molecular markers can serve to define the genetic sequence of a particular coronavirus (or any pathogen) as soon as they can provide the specific genetic traits of a variety. “Molecular markers are not the future, they are already the present,” said Francisco Llatser, the decades-long former director of AVASA (Agrupación de Viveristas de Agrios, S.A, whose member nurseries account for around 80% of Spanish plant production). His contribution “against varietal piracy is having and will have an incalculable economic impact,” he added immediately. This is how forceful Llatser was during a webinar organized by the Gocitrus project, which also served to prove how this technological revolution is benefiting all the links in this chain: it is accelerating the varietal improvement processes, technology is beginning to be introduced In order to reduce the time and tests necessary to obtain the registration (the ‘patent’ of a variety), it has improved the control of nursery production and is being used in an emerging way in the certification and varietal identification systems to avoid fraud.

© Gocitrus
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Surge in demand for Spanish citrus in second half of campaign

Surge in demand for Spanish citrus in second half of campaign
Photo: Cañamas

The Valencian Association of Farmers (AVA-ASAJA) reports that the second half of the citrus season has seen an increase in sales and prices for producers. This is due to a better balance between supply, which has been lower than expected due to adverse weather conditions, and demand, which is up due to the cold in Europe and the fruit’s immunological benefits.

AVA-ASAJA added that the interest is mainly focused on the subgroup of late Navels, Navel Powell, Barnfield and Chislett oranges (with prices at origin that tend to be within the €0.353-0.447/kg range) and, to a lesser extent, Navel Lane Late (€0.282-0.376/kg). There is also strong demand for the hybrid subgroup of mandarins, Tango, Nadorcott (€0.611-0.851/kg) and Orri (€1-1.3/kg).

For many varieties, these prices represent an approximate year-on-year increase of 10%. The president of AVA-ASAJA, Cristóbal Aguado, said: “The campaign has taken a new turn and has left behind the serious marketing problems that some of the most widespread varieties such as the Navelina orange or the mandarin. Now commercial operators are once again expressing their keen interest in sourcing enough citrus fruits to be able to supply the markets in the coming months.”

The prospects are good for the remainder of the campaign.

 

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Stable Costa Rican orange crop

Stable Costa Rican orange crop © Eurofresh Distribution
© Eurofresh Distribution

 

Costa Rica’s orange production is forecast to dip slightly to 285,000 tons in 2020/2021 from 290,000 tons in 2019/2020, according to FAS data.  Delays in the harvest caused by the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in loss of fruit at the time of harvest during 2019/2020.  The industry had to make considerable investments in the application of sanitary protocols and new infrastructure to limit the spread of the disease among workers. Most of these measures are now in place for the upcoming harvest.  Many of the workers come from Nicaragua for the harvest. The industry has worked closely with the local authorities to allow workers to enter Costa Rica under strict sanitary protocols. The United States is Costa Rica’s main destination for its orange juice (purchasing 75 percent of total exports in 2019), followed by the European Union, and China.  Costa Rican orange juice enters the United States duty free under the US-Central American Free Trade Agreement.

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Better campaign expected for Mexican citrus

Better campaign expected for Mexican citrus

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.