South Africa’s orange exports are forecast to be up by 2% to 1.32 million tons in the 2020/21 MY, from 1.29 million tons in the 2019/20 MY, according to USDA data. The increase is attributed to a combination of a larger production area and the continued impact of COVID-19. The EU remains South Africa’s largest export market for oranges, accounting for 38% of the total. However, exports to Asia and the Middle East have grown steadily over the years due to the industry’s focus on growing these markets. Exports to the US are expected to continue based on the duty free access under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). However, a gradual shift from oranges to soft citrus exports is expected over time, as South African farmers supplying the US market have been re-planting their orchards from oranges to soft citrus in response to market preferences and the higher premium received in the US market. Exports to the United States decreased in 2019, due to the shift from oranges to soft citrus and small fruit sizes.
Egypt’s orange exports reached 1.398 million tons up to October 14, according to data released by the country’s Central Administration for Agricultural Quarantine. This places Egypt as the world’s top exporter of oranges for the second consecutive year. According to the report, The Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation also played a role in opening new markets for Egypt’s agricultural products by tracking the cultivation and packaging processes to ensure they meet safety criteria. In addition, no products are allowed out of the country unless they are up to standard. Last season, Egypt exported 1.68 million tons of oranges, 70,000 tons of lemon, 35,000 tons of mandarin, and 15,000 tons of grapefruit, according to Finance Brokerage.
© ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA
The first Chilean oranges have entered China, where they were welcomed with a ceremony at Jiaxing Haiguangxing Market, which has close ties with the Chilean Export Association. Chile, the Southern Hemisphere’s second-largest orange producer, exports about 18 million tons between May and November each year. Chilean oranges and lemons have a great price-quality ratio in comparison with oranges and lemons from other countries and require no refrigeration.
China imports huge volumes of oranges from the Southern Hemisphere, with imports from Egypt growing in recent years. The citrus import market is slowly improving following the setbacks experienced during the Covid pandemic. South African grapefruit is doing particularly well.
The Jiaxing Haiguangxing Market has quickly developed into a trade centre for premium fruit in the last two years, with trade value increasing by 10.3% this year alone, and trade volume up by 13.1%.
© Alexandra Sautois, Eurofresh Distribution
Mexican orange producers anticipate their lowest crop since the early 1990s. The 2019/20 (Nov-Oct) crop is expected to reach 2.53 million tons, 45% lower than previous forecasts due to the ongoing drought and high temperatures that have severely reduced yield, sizes and quality. Orange production has been harder hit than other citrus fruits because many orange trees are older and require more energy to produce fruit. Additionally, many small producers lack irrigation technology and have poor crop management practices. Mexico is also facing issues with citrus greening, or Huanglongbing (HLB), caused by bacteria introduced by psyllids, which makes citrus trees produce misshapen, partially green fruit.
In the 2019/20 campaign, Mexico’s orange exports are expected to reach 60,000 tons, according to USDA data. Most is shipped to the US, where demand for vitamin c sources is currently high due to the covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, Mexico’s lemon/lime exports in the 2019/20 campaign are expected to reach 755,000 tons.
South Africa’s 2019/20 orange crop is projected to grow by 1% to 1.6 million tons, according to CGA data. The increase is attributed to good rainfall in the main growing regions, the rise in area planted, better water management techniques by farmers, and new plantings of high yielding and late-maturing varieties. Exports are expected to be up 8% to 1.28 million tons this campaign, thanks to the larger crop, better fruit quality, and rise in demand for sources of Vitamin C to fight COVID-19. The EU remains South Africa’s largest export market for oranges, accounting for 38% of total shipments. However, exports to Asia and the Middle East have grown steadily over the years due to the industry’s focus on growing these markets.
Exports to the US are expected to continue, albeit with a gradual shift from oranges to soft citrus exports, as South African farmers supplying the US market have been re-planting their orchards with soft citrus in response to market preferences and the higher premium received in the US. Indeed, South Africa’s orange exports to the US dropped in 2019 due to this shift in consumer preference.
During the COVID 19 emergency, the performance of Oranfrizer’s oranges achieved unprecedented results, with truly extraordinary peaks in March and April. “We have given priority to the national market and we have guaranteed deliveries to Northern European countries with the same stability as ever. In Italy we have recorded a strong focus on citrus fruits, the demand for oranges has been at the top of consumer choices,” said director Nello Alba. “The entire sector has benefited from this. We have seen a 40% increase in red orange sales. What has happened? The consumer is more aware of three valuable elements of the blood orange: it is a precious natural source of Vitamin C, a real treasure chest of many nutrients, its taste is very pleasant and it is Italian. Its origin has been rewarded. If these factors continue to guide consumer choices, we will continue to see growth.”
The 2020 citrus season for Oranfrizer cannot be said to be completely over, as Italian lemons continue to be harvested. This summer’s main protagonist will be Sicili, the lemon with a volcanic soul that ripens in the green plains dominated by Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe. Sicilì will debut on the markets in the coming weeks with packaging created to make the Italian Oranfrizer lemons more recognisable, collected exclusively from the most suitable areas of eastern Sicily most of the year. The package communicates information about the different fruitings that ripen one after the other on the same tree. The attention to the reflowering nature of the lemon tree described on the Sicilì package will make it easier to recognise the origin, seasonality, characteristics of the Verdello, Primofiore and Bianchetto lemons that will follow one another and can be purchased by Italian consumers.
The summer production of Oranfrizer goes beyond citrus fruits, because Sicily is teeming with other fruits, such as flat peaches and apricots, mini watermelons and netted melons, new potatoes from Syracuse, already in distribution. The grapes of Mazzarrone, Cantaloupe melon and Coscia dell’Etna pears will also be available soon. This hot summer will close with the peaches of Leonforte PGI, nectarines, prickly pears and mango. The varied offer of Sicilian cherry tomatoes are constantly marketed, the most sought after being the Ciliegino, Datterino and Piccadilly varieties.
Oranfrizer’s seasonal offer of fresh fruit and vegetables contains only the regional selections that represent the best of the largest island in the Mediterranean. “The forecasts for the summer fruit and vegetable season are good, we do not have a shortage of manpower, consumers are looking for the Italian spirit and our products that reach retailers stand out for their origin,” said Alba. “With the marketing of summer fruits we are committed to making the most of our precious Sicilian crops that during the warmer months explode with truly exceptional colours, flavours and aromas. The fruits already chosen on the field are picked only at the right time. Each harvest is subject to a further careful selection by our workers. Those who reach the tables are the best seasonal fruits, the most characteristic of our territory.”
The current Coronavirus pandemic appears to have had a relatively small impact on the EU’s 2019/20 harvest, coming as it did at the end of the campaign. The total crop is projected to reach 6.2 million tons this season, according to data released by the EU Commission. This volume represents a 5% drop from the previous campaign, due to smaller yields. In recent weeks, demand has risen across the world for both oranges and orange juice as consumers look for sources of vitamin C to remain healthy. The sharp increase in retail sales have more than offset the drop in the foodservice channel. The increased demand has driven prices up both globally and in the EU.
Global logistics problems, particularly with shipments to China, meant that EU fresh orange exports were markedly down in March 2020 (-13% y-o-y). The increased local demand is also likely to have a dampening effect on exports. Imports to the EU during the 2019/20 campaign until the end of March were down 20% from the previous season, although recent months have seen the gap between the two campaigns close somewhat.
To mark the new trade agreements signed by Italy and China, the first 40 tons of Sicilian oranges left from Sicily destined for Ningbo, in Zhejiang. The move follows the visit of Chinese President, Xi Jinping, to negotiate Italy’s involvement in China’s Belt and Road Project.
Moreover, there has been a cooperation agreement signed between the port of Trieste and the Chinese group China Communication Construction Company as a gateway in and out of Central Europe for trade with China.
The world’s orange output for 2018/19 is expected to rise 9% to 51.8 million tons, thanks to favourable weather conditions in Brazil and the US. According to USDA data, fresh orange exports are predicted to be up 4% to 5.1 million tons. Brazil’s crop is projected up 13% to 17.8 million tons, of which 12.8 million tons is for processing (+22%). China’s output is expected to fall slightly to 7.2 million, due to unfavourable weather in Jiangxi province. South Africa and Egypt are the top two suppliers to China, accounting for 60% of the country’s imports. After a weather-struck 2017/18, US production is forecast to bounce back in 2018/19, with a 41% increase to 5.0 million tons. EU orange production is expected to be up 4% to 6.5 million tons due to favourable conditions in Spain and Portugal during flowering and fruit set. Imports are flat, while oranges for processing and fresh consumption are both up. Egypt should set a new record of 3.4 million tons, up 10%, thanks to a larger production area and extended season. Egypt’s exports will account for around 30% of total global trade, with shipments up 60,000 tons to a record 1.6 million. Top destinations are the EU, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine. South Africa’s production is expected to rise 5% to 1.6 million tons due to favourable weather and expanded area. South Africa’s exports account for around 25% of global orange trade and are projected to hit a record 1.3 million tons. The EU is the top export market, followed by China and Russia. Elsewhere, Mexico’s production is projected up 100,000 tons to 4.6 million, while Morocco’s crop is forecast to be up 18% to a record 1.2 million tons.
Citrus production in Mexico is expected to increase in 2018/19 thanks to optimal weather conditions and improved yields. Fresh orange and lime production is forecast to continue to grow. Due to the decrease in orange production in Florida, fresh fruit exports to the US for processing from the north of Mexico have increased. Orange producers indicate a strong demand from processors due to attractive orange juice future prices.
Orange production area is stable at 341,000 hectares planted, but productivity is up to approximately 14.3 tons per hectare. Although no official forecast has been published, the USDA forecast for Mexico’s 2018/19 orange harvest is 4.6 million tons. The state of Veracruz is by far the largest producer of oranges, with 50% of the planted area and 51% of production. The main variety is Valencia. Approximately US$1.85 million dollars have been dedicated to a citrus greening campaign to protect orchards in Veracruz. Producer prices from Veracruz began in November 2018 at US$0.10/Kg.