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Israeli citrus targets Asian market

Israeli citrus targets Asian market
Photo: Israel citrus by depositphotos®

Israel’s citrus production continues to expand, increasing 3.7% in 2020/21 to 18,260 ha, according to FAS/Tel Aviv data. Israel’s citrus exports in 2020/21 are forecast to fall 1% to 157,000 tons (not including niche varieties) due to harsh climatic conditions early this season that led to lower yields. Despite high international demand for citrus, growers may not be able to meet this. Total citrus exports in 2019/20 were also low at 159,000 tons, due to the lack of shipping options during the pandemic. 

Israel is seeking new export markets for grapefruit in Asia, where there is less competition and favourable prices. These markets give a higher dollar value for the product compared to closer markets such as Europe where Israeli produce faces stiff competition from other exporting countries such as Morocco and Spain. Two varieties account for 79% of Israel’s citrus exports: red grapefruit (38,000 tons) and the Or mandarin variety (87,000 tons).



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Lime prices in the US at twice normal levels


Lime prices in the US are double where they were at the same time last year. This has led to the world’s main producing countries, Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia preferring to export to the US, often at the expense of Europe. Brazil has responded to this opportunity by increasing its shipments to Europe, leading to a fall in prices. Prices in the US are traditionally high at this time of year with Southern Hemisphere production coming to an end while Northern Hemisphere production has yet to hit its peak. Guatemala is particularly well positioned as its campaign gets underway just as prices in the US reach their maximum. The high prices in the US are reducing demand for lime. However, these prices will no doubt very soon attract supplies from other countries and result in a fall.

Another key market for limes is Germany, with most limes on the market there coming from Brazil and Mexico, although Egypt is starting to make inroads too. Thanks to a steady supply, the average wholesale price is normal for this time of year and stands between €0.20 and €0.23 per unit. With the rising temperatures across the company, demand for limes has increased considerably.

Elsewhere, South African lime producers are concentrating on the domestic market where they can obtain better prices. In Israel, producers are hoping for better growing conditions than those faced over the past three years. The heat waves have accelerated fruit ripening and led to smaller calibres, which are unsuitable for export.

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Israel’s Fresh AgroMashov starts June 28

Fresh AgroMashov, Israel, is an international exhibition attracting the world's leading players in the marketing of fresh agricultural produce.

The next edition of the Israeli agricultural showcase Fresh AgroMashov takes place June 28-29.

The location for this event – and one of the secrets to its success – is the rendezvous point of Asia, Europe and Africa – Tel-Aviv, specifically at the Israel Fairs & Conventions Centre.

Promising a vibrant mix of conference and exhibition elements, Fresh AgroMashov 2016 is expected to double the number of presenting companies and visitors.

This year the focus will be on the leading players in the marketing of fresh agricultural produce.

“The increasing quality of life in Eastern Europe and the Far East offers fascinating new marketing opportunities and channels for growers and marketers of fresh produce worldwide. The exhibition for marketing of fresh produce – Fresh AgroMashov – is one of the pivotal international meetings in the world of dynamic trade in agriculture,” the event organisers said in a press release.

“The existing Western European market is supplemented by new Eastern markets that are changing the rules of the game in the area of agricultural produce marketing. Following the rise in quality of life in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, India and China, Eastern Europe and Asia, (they) have become important destinations in the marketing of agricultural goods.

“These developments were paralleled by a decrease in the purchasing power of Western European countries that were considered as major consumption players, forcing growers and marketers to acknowledge and accept the new rules of the game in terms of new major players in this dynamic market.

“Both the new and old players will be our guests at this year’s international Fresh AgroMashov exhibition,” they said.

Important topics attracting presenters and visitors to this edition of the Fresh AgroMashov international exhibition are those of taste and health. These important factors for modern consumers will also be addressed at the exhibition’s central symposium.

For more information:

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500-600ha less pepper production in Israel

Israel's Arava pepper growing area has declined from 1,600-17,00 ha in 2014 to 1,100 hectares this year, a decrease of about 35%.

Israel’s Arava pepper growing area has declined from 1,600-17,00 ha in 2014 to 1,100 hectares this year, a decrease of about 35%.

This has occurred as part of a government-sponsored programme to convert pepper crops for export to crops for the domestic market.

Arava Regional Council agricultural director Hemi Barkan said about 90 pepper growers have joined the programme. “Out of a budget of INS 80 million, INS 70 million were used,” he said.

Pepper growers in Israel suffered from sharp drop in profit last year, due to declines in the ruble and euro, and the sanctions imposed by Russia and the EU.

The assistance program will continue till the end of 2016. Most growers are converting from growing peppers to growing Majhoul dates, eggplants, squash and coloured cherry tomatoes.

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Tough time for Israeli citrus market, says USDA

The Israeli citrus market's export value has been negatively affected by external shocks and unfavorable weather, reports the USDA.

External shocks and adverse weather have rocked the export market for Israeli citrus, according to a report by the US Department of Agriculture.

The Israeli shekel has strengthened about 10% against the Euro in the last year, making Israeli citrus exports less profitable in the EU, a market to which two-thirds of its citrus exports go.

The Russian financial crisis is also hurting Israeli citrus exports. The rapid depreciation of the ruble against the shekel has brought trade to a standstill since February. And exports to Japan have also taken a hit due to economic slowdown there.

Israel is consequently increasing its exports to long distance markets, mainly South Korea, the US, and Canada, the USDA said. “However, these markets remain small with the US and the Canadian markets capturing 3-4% of the total Israeli citrus exports.”

Meanwhile, in January, about 6,000 ha. of citrus were damaged due to hail storms and winds estimated to have caused overall damage worth NIS 70 million ($17.7 mil) to Israeli agriculture, affecting thousands of acres of avocado and citrus crops and some row crops in the south. The citrus damage would have been worse if not for the protective nets used in groves. “Despite the weather disturbances, export quantity was not affected significantly and this is mainly to a good crop and that made up for the weather,” the USDA said.

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Israel’s best seller in citrus is the Orri mandarin, an easy-peeler which accounted for about 40% of Israeli citrus exports (64,478 tons) in the 2014/15 marketing year and mainly goes to the EU and. “Orri is still profitable, but it’s just less profitable per unit than it could be and this is due to the weakened Euro,” the USDA said.

“Orange exports in MY 2014/15 have declined marginally compared to the previous two years because of strong domestic demand (see table).  The decrease in grapefruit exports in MY 2014/15 is mainly due to the fact that about 1,100 ha of red grapefruit (star ruby and Rio-red varieties) were uprooted in the last 3 years due to low profitability,” it said.

Source: “External Shocks and Weather Conditions Challenging Citrus Revenues” a Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) 

Image: “Lemon Orchard in the Galilee by David Shankbone” by David Shankbone (attribution required) – own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.