© 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.
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.
Photo: Eurofresh Distribution
Moroccan citrus production in 2020/21 is projected to surge by 32% to 2.3 million tons from the previous marketing year, according to FAS Rabat data. The increase in production is based on increased area planted/new plantings coming into full production, as well as new irrigation which offset the long drought in 2020. Tangerine/mandarin production is estimated to increase by 30% over the previous year to 1.2 million tons, orange production should increase by 27% to 1.1 million tons, and lemon/lime production is estimated to reach 44,000 tons.
Orange exports were down by 30% in 2019/20, due to drought in key growing areas. Shipments to the EU fell 23% compared to the previous campaign.
Brazil’s 2020/21 orange crop is projected to rise 14% from the previous year, reaching 16.93 million tons, according to FAS/Sao Paolo data. The forecast assumes normal weather conditions will prevail to support fruit setting and development of the second blossoming in the Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais commercial citrus belt. The current orange crop estimate was revised downward due to the low rainfall and high temperatures between September and October. Total Brazilian FCOJ 65 Brix equivalent exports for 2020/21 are forecast at 1.08 million tons, similar to the revised level figure for 2019/20.
Total fresh orange exports for MY 2020/21 are projected at 8,160 tons, according to data published by the Brazilian Secretariat of Foreign Trade (Secex). The majority of exports occur between June and December). Portugal, Italy, the UK, and France are the major export destinations for Brazil’s fresh orange exports.
Photo: Agreen Egypt
Egypt has become a major citrus export in recent years. After a difficult 2019/20, the country’s fresh orange exports are set to rise 9% in 2020/21 compared to the previous campaign. The total volume is projected at 1.5 million tons, according to FAS Cairo data. The increase is the result of a larger crop due to favourable weather conditions. The main export markets remain Saudi Arabia, Russia, the Netherlands, China, and the UAE, as well as New Zealand, Japan, and Brazil. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a 20% reduction in 2019/20 orange exports compared to the previous marketing year. Egypt has opened new markets in recent years thanks to the setting up of a traceability system. All of these developments support a positive outlook for Egyptian orange exports as well as encouraging agribusinesses to invest in establishing new facilities or expand capacity. Orange is the major citrus species crop in Egypt, representing about 80% of the total cultivated citrus area.
The 2019/20 EU orange crop is predicted to fall 9% from 2018/19 to 6.2 million tons, according to FAS data. The drop is the result of the heavy rains that hit Spain’s main growing regions of Valencia and Andalusia during the spring and autumn. In line with the reduced output, EU orange juice production is estimated to be down 21% to 83,724 tons. Meanwhile, the EU tangerine production is expected to be down 14% to 2.7 million tons, following a 23.8% predicted slump in the Spanish crop. Since 2010, the EU’s total orange and tangerine planted areas have contracted by nearly 13% 8% respectively, as citrus producers focus on yield and quality.
Spain and Italy account for 80% of the EU’s total orange output. Spain’s crop is predicted to shrink by 15.2% to 3.3 million tons. During the first 16 weeks of 2020, the average Spanish orange price reached €0.73/kg compared to €0.63/kg during the same period last year. The average price paid to orange farmers peaked at €0.31/kg due to the shortage in supplies and strong domestic and export demand triggered by the lockdown. Over the last decade, Spain’s planted area has contracted by 9% to 139,132 ha, but is still the largest in the EU.
Italy is the second largest European orange producer, with Sicily and Calabria the main production areas, accounting for approximately 63% and 19% of total production, respectively. The country’s 2019/20 crop is projected to remain stable compared to the previous season. The main varieties grown are Tarocco, Moro, Sanguinello, Naveline, and Valencia, while Ippolito and Meli are gaining popularity.
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.
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.
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.
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