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Mixed outlook for citrus sector

Over the coming years, the global citrus sector is likely to see strong competition between oranges and soft citrus. There is sure to be diversification of varieties, with old cultivars replaced by ones that offer greater convenience (e.g. seedless, easy peelers). Spanish orange production is coming under greater pressure from South Africa, Morocco and Egypt. As for soft citrus, the extended calendars are likely to result in seasonal overlap between Northern Hemisphere late varieties and Southern Hemisphere early varieties. The lemon sector is set to see a significant increase in production over the next five years in the main producing countries, with Spain investing more in this trendy segment. Finally, grapefruit is set to continue its decline, with production shrinking in both the US and EU, leaving South Africa the undisputed king of the segment. As is the case with the rest of the fruit sector, much will depend on how global trade conflicts pan out, particularly the fall-out of Brexit, the US-China trade dispute and the Russian embargo.

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USDA tips small increase in Italian orange production

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Italy’s orange crop should be up 4% on last season but there’ll be a lack of big size fruit, says the USDA’s Global Agriculture Information Network (GAIN) in a new report. Fruit quality is expected to be good, despite unfavorable weather, though there’ll be more small size oranges in the 2013/14 (November-October) marketing year, it said.

Orange consumption is likely to remain flat in Italy, where most oranges are consumed fresh, principally the blood varieties (Tarocco, Moro, and Sanguinello), GAIN said. In 2012/13, Italy imported 223,566 tons of oranges (mainly from Spain) and exported 126,083 tons (mainly to Germany).

Little change is expected in Italy’s tangerine, lemon, and grapefruit crops. Its tangerine production is more than 80% seedless clementines (mainly Comune or Oroval and Monreal) and the rest mandarins (mainly Avana and Tardivo di Ciaculli varieties), with very slight reductions in production but satisfactory quality forecast for both.

GAIN said Italy’s lemon-producing area (concentrated in Sicily) is gradually shrinking due to reduced profitability and consumption will probably slip 6% on last season.