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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


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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Bumper orange crop in store

Bumper orange crop in store

The world’s orange crop is expected to reach an 8-year high of 54.3 million tons in the 2018/19 campaign. The favourable weather conditions have fostered large harvests in the US and Brazil. Consumption is estimated to be up. South Africa and Egypt remain the top two suppliers, accounting for a combined 60% of world exports. Egypt’s production is expected to reach a record 3.4 million tons (+10%) thanks to an expanded production area. Exports are estimated to rise 4% to 1.6 million tons. Good weather has also produced a strong EU crop (+4% to 6.5 million tons).

As a large proportion of the US and Brazilian crops is for processing, global fresh exports are slightly down. The rebound in US production is thanks to the return to more normal conditions in Florida (where 95% of the crop is for processing), after the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma in the previous year. Good weather is also to thank for the rise in Brazil’s production (+26% to 20.2 million tons). In contrast, China’s production is down slightly to 7.2 million tons due to unfavourable weather.

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Reduction in European orange farming

Reduction in European orange farming

The orange production area of Europe’s main producers fell between 2006 and 2017, according to data published by the European Commission. By far the leading producer, Spain, saw its acreage peak in 2008 at 157,000 ha, before falling steadily back to 2006 levels in 2017 (140,000 ha). Meanwhile, Italy’s orange production area fell from 103,000 ha in 2006 to 83,000 ha in 2017. The next largest producer, Greece, registered a drop from 39,000 ha to 31,000ha. Portuguese orange production declined over the period from 19,000ha to 18,000ha.

Source: European Commission

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Morocco’s orange exports continue their ascent

Morocco’s orange exports are expected to reach around 120,500 tons in the 2016/17 marketing year – up 29% from 92,246 tons in 2015/16 – as increased availability allows it to meet growing demand from Russia and the EU, according to a new GAIN report.

Morocco’s orange exports are expected to reach around 120,500 tons in the 2016/17 marketing year – up 29% from 92,246 tons in 2015/16 – as increased availability allows it to meet growing demand from Russia and the EU, according to a new GAIN report.

The report says the country will likely also benefit from an expected decline in citrus exports from Spain due to quality issues caused by overabundant, late rainfall there.

In 2015/16, the EU and Russia bought 73% of Morocco’s orange exports, which were mainly (66%) Maroc Late oranges.

Morocco’s orange production should increase by 4% over the previous year to 962,250 tons, according to estimates by a USDA post in the country.

Much of that rise in production will be due to increases in the area harvested, as younger trees begin to bear fruit, the GAIN report says.

Source: Gain report 1617, Dec 14, 2016, 2016 Morocco Citrus Annual Report
Orange image: Pixabay under CC0 Public Domain licence

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China’s orange imports could surge 35%

China's citrus imports are expected to continue to grow driven by consumer demand (especially in 1st tier cities) for high-quality and counter-seasonal fruit.

China’s citrus imports are expected to grow thanks to consumer demand and a 10% drop in its 2016/17 orange production.

According to a new USDA Gain report, the country is likely to import 300,000 tons of oranges in the 2016/17 marketing year, up over 35% on the previous year. Its orange imports in 2015/16 reached 220,000 tons, which was itself an increase of 50% on the previous year.

The report says that a key factor in this growth is increasingly strong demand for high quality imported oranges, including counter-seasonal oranges from Southern Hemisphere countries.

South Africa, with a 37% market share, continued to be the top supplier to China in 2015/16, with the US in second place with 28%.


China’s orange exports are forecast at 50,000 tons in 2016/17, down over 30% on the previous year, as a result of the expected decrease in supply. Southeast Asia remains its main export market for oranges.

Source of images and information: GAIN Report Number CH166037, Citrus Annual, Peoples Republic of China’s, December 2016  

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Australia set for 230,000 ton orange export record

Australia’s orange exports are expected to reach a record of 230,000 tons in 2016/17.

Australia’s orange exports are expected to reach a record of 230,000 tons in 2016/17, up 10.6% on the previous year.

Greater demand in North Asian markets and higher production in Australia are key factors in this rise, according to a new USDA Gain report.

Australia is a competitive counter-seasonal supplier to northern hemisphere markets such as Indonesia, China, Japan, Korea and the US.

Oranges account for around 80% of its citrus exports. Its navel orange exports run from June to October.

Australian exporters have benefited from lower tariffs in key markets such as Japan, Korea and China following bilateral free trade agreements, the report also says.


Australia imports fresh oranges, predominantly from the US, during its summer. It is estimated to have imported 30,000 tons in 2015/16 and a similar amount is forecast for 2016/17.


Australia’s fresh orange production in 2016/17 is forecast by the USDA’s post to rise 4% to 470,000 tons due to good seasonal conditions and improved water access.

Domestic sales account for more than half of the total orange production and are usually made direct to large supermarket chains or through the country’s central fruit market system.

Over 20,000ha of orange orchards have been planted in Australia, of which 12,000ha are to grow Navel oranges for eating, and the rest Valencia for juice production. Many growers are moving away from the Valencia varieties, because of low prices for orange juice, and towards eating varieties such as Navels, which attract higher returns.

Another trend involves consumer preferences gradually moving away from older orange varieties and towards sweeter and easier to peel seedless citrus varieties and some new varieties of navel orange, the report says.

Source: Australia Citrus Annual, GAIN Report, December 2016


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Fama introduces Israeli varieties of mandarins

Fama has  7,000 ha of citrus farms in the provinces of Entre Rios and Corrientes, with 50% oranges and 50% mandarins.

Thirty years after it was founded, Fama S.A. now occupies a significant place within the production and exportation of fresh citrus from Entre Ríos and Corrientes, Argentina.

The company has 20 owners from three generations of fruit producers whose mentality is aimed at producing quality fruit.

Today Fama has 7,000 ha of citrus farms in the provinces of Entre Rios and Corrientes, with 50% oranges and 50% mandarins.

For the latter, the company has been making contracts to have exclusive, patented varieties such as Orri, of Israeli origin.

Commercial director Alberto Lavino Zona explained: “This enables us to be always a little ahead of our competitors. Also, at times when there is too much fruit, by having what nobody else has it is easier to sell it.”

He went on to describe the company’s strategy, which is based on three prongs: “Innovation in varieties, where we are entering the field of red Israeli varieties, which are very valuable and take five years to develop; we are not thinking of increasing the area but improving technology to get greater production per hectare and a better yield, making the work more effective; and having varieties the market seeks, thus being more competitive.”

Although the most significant market is Russia, which accounts for 50% of the volume exported, it is currently present in 30 markets and the idea is to continue growing and opening up new ones.

“What has differentiated us from our competitors is that we have always been opening up markets according to the type of fruit we produce and trying to maximise the value of each variety and each calibre.”

Interested in opening up the US market, Lavino Zona underlined the need to have the backing of the Argentine government to bring down tariffs barriers. 

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Diversification in South African citrus market

The Citrus Growers’ Association (CGA) represents 100% of citrus growers in South Africa and 100% of the citrus produced in and exported from the country.

The world’s second largest citrus exporter and number two exporter in the Southern Hemisphere is further diversifying its markets.

The Citrus Growers’ Association represents 100% of the sector’s growers in South Africa.

“We are immensely proud that South Africa is one of the most advanced countries in all aspects of product development,” said Deon Joubert, responsible for market access at the CGA, which also represents 100% of the citrus produced and exported in the country.

As the second largest citrus producer in the world, South Africa keeps diversifying its markets. Their main volume of exports goes to the EU (45%) and the association helps by continuously working on access to the most lucrative markets such as the US, India and the Far East.

CGA: 100% of SA’s citrus growers

The association represents growers from Swaziland and Zimbabwe (1,400 growers), too, as a non-commercial organisation. CGA provides the industry with the capacity to work diligently on access to global markets; optimising cost-effective production of quality fruit; and helping care for the environment and the community.

The association aims to assist its members in maximizing sustainable profitability through worldwide market access. It realizes that research is the key to success, and 60% of its budget is spent on research aimed at assisting market access, consumers trend analysis and the introduction of new technology.

The CGA provides guidance and assists in setting standards for fruit and quality, ensuring all the grower regions have gone through the appropriate certifications. Traceability is applied to all shipments.

This article appeared on page 56 of issue 142 (March/April 2016) of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read that edition online here.

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South Korea’s consumers prefer fresh fruit

Korea’s fruit imports have increased steadily after implementing many free trade agreements (FTAs) since 2003.

In 2014, Korea’s fruit consumption per capita, including imported fresh oranges, increased to 66.5 kg due to consumer preferences for more fresh fruit in the diet. However, over the last 10 years the consumption has still been below the international recommended quantities. A sharp decline is noted in consumption of the locally produced ‘Singo’ pears, which were also exported to the U.S. in the past.

Korea’s fruit imports have increased steadily after implementing many free trade agreements (FTAs) since 2003. Its nine major fruit imports, including oranges and table grapes, increased by 4% (24,000 tons) to 615,680 tons during the first 10 months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014.

In 2016, Korea is still imposing a 10% seasonal tariff on U.S. fresh oranges from March to August under the KORUS FTA; the tariff will be eliminated in 2018. In the marketing year 2015/16, fresh orange imports are expected to increase by 7.5 percent to 120,000 tons, a 9,000 ton increase on the previous crop year, mainly due to the end of the west coast port strike in the U.S. and improved quality for this year’s fruit. The U.S. is the major orange supplier to the Korean market with a 93% market share in the sales year 2014/15, followed by South Africa and Spain with 4% and 2% respectively.

This article appeared on page 18 in the News section of edition 141, Jan/Feb 2016, of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read that issue online here.

South Korea flag image: by various [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons