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New start for Harvest Season and garciaBallester in Asian citrus market

New start for Harvest Season and garciaBallester in Asian citrus market
Credit: Press release

An event held on 12th February in Palma del Río, Córdoba, makes official and consolidates the alliance between Harvest Season and garciaBallester. The two large companies, leaders in the business, are now united in achieving the same goal: to become leaders in the Asian citrus import market. garciaBallester’s own facilities were chosen as the ideal setting to seal the union between the two companies. 

Representatives and senior executives from both companies were present from the beginning, with garciaBallester represented by Jorge García (CEO), Jorge C. García, (management coordinator), Lucas (Asian export manager), Miguel Meliá, (GB Palma del Rio’s packhouse manager) and Stephane (sales director), and Harvest Season represented by Tony Zhang (general manager).

The event started with the reception of both parties in garciaBallester’s facilities, and later on they went out to the fields.  Once in the field, which was also in the middle of the orange season, the union between both companies was formalised. To do this, a customised pickaxe was used as a symbolic element to announce their commitment to a new era in the citrus market in Asia. Later, attendees were treated to a guided tour around garciaBallester’s facilities. 

The highlight of the event was the cutting of the opening ribbon, where Harvest Season and garciaBallester celebrated their new chapter together. They were able to share new ideas and also to answer questions from the invited press. The event demonstrated successfully how to start this new stage for Harvest Season and garciaBallester.

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Spain’s citrus sales slow down

Spain’s citrus sales slow down, Source: Observatorio de Precios y Mercados (Andalucia)

The Christmas holidays led to a reduction in sales of citrus in Spain, although the arrival of low temperatures and the end of the Christmas period should prompt an upturn. The average prices of citrus fruits in the 2019/20 campaign are higher than those registered in the previous campaign, in which the prices were especially low. The upward trend in the prices generally corresponds to product varieties with a higher commercial value in the market.

A decrease in average yield per hectare has been registered in the current campaign. Average orange prices remained stable at 0.19 / kg in week 52 of 2019 and week 1 of 2020, decreasing by 5% with respect to the average value of orange in week 51 of 2019 (€0.2 / kg) and 9.5% compared to week 50 (€0.21 / kg).

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Frutinter focuses on sustainable solutions

Frutinter focuses on sustainable solutions

 

Maximum sustainability throughout its processes: this is the challenge that citrus specialist Frutinter has accepted. Working in partnership with the University of Valencia, the company has designed smart technology to provide its plants with exactly what they need in every moment of their development. Speaking at the firm’s stand at Fruit Attraction in Madrid, marketing manager, Vicente Mingarro, said, “We have developed a project to ensure we have the smallest carbon footprint possible. We have invested in precision agriculture to use the minimum quantity of water and we are using insects to replace chemical pesticides. We’re treating the residual water to ensure it doesn’t contaminate the land.” The firm is also focused on improving sustainability throughout the supply chain. “We are using more natural and recyclable packaging such as netting to replace plastics. Solar panels have been installed to power our warehouses, which are designed to have natural lighting. We have a separate warehouse section for fruits which have undergone no chemical treatment. For transportation, we have changed our fleet from diesel-powered to gas-powered trucks,” said Mingarro. 

Around 75% of Frutinter’s offer is sold in Spain, with the majority of the rest sent to the EU. Shipments have also recently begun to Canada and Brazil, with sights now set firmly on Asia, too. Besides citrus, Frutinter produces melon, watermelon, grapes, tomatoes, lettuce and tropical fruits. The firm’s annual volumes total 130,000 tons of citrus, 15,000 tons of melon and watermelon, and 15,000 tons of other fruit and vegetables.

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Citrus losing primacy in global fruit trade

Citrus losing primacy in global fruit trade

As the fruit sector diversifies, citrus is coming to play a smaller role. While Spain dominates the citrus trade overall, African and South American countries are coming to play a greater role in certain regions.

Between 1980 and 2016, exported volumes of fresh fruit increased from 23 to 87.5 million tons (+193%). While the growth in total fruit exports (+280%) outstripped growth in production (155%), the opposite is the case when we look at the citrus category, where production increased by 139%, but exports only rose by 133%, from 6.9 to 16 million tons. The shrinking role that citrus has come to play in the global fruit trade is highlighted by the fact that its share of world fruit exports plummeted from 30% in 1980 to 18.5% in 2016.

 

Oranges and grapefruits
losing their shine

When we examine the breakdown of the world’s citrus trade, we find that oranges and grapefruits have seen their share drop, while soft citrus and lemons now play a larger role. While in 1980, orange exports accounted for 59% of all citrus exports, by 2016, their share had fallen to 43% (6.8 million tons). Over the same period, exports of grapefruit registered a fall in their category share from 12% to 7% (1.1 million tons in 2016). In contrast, soft fruits almost doubled their share of the category’s exports, rising from 15% to 31% (5 million tons in 2016). Similarly, lemons saw their share of citrus exports rise from 14% to 19% (3.1 million tons in 2016).

 

Spain dominates
citrus export markets

The world’s number-one citrus exporter remains Spain, but the picture has shifted somewhat over recent decades. Spain leads the way in exports of orange and soft citrus, and is second only to Mexico in lemon/lime exports. The Spaniards’ greatest rival is South Africa, with the major Southern Hemisphere player leading the way in grapefruit exports, ranking second in oranges, and fourth in soft citrus and lemon/limes. 

 

Leading orange exporters

In 2017, Spain, with 1.8 million tons, accounted for 27% of the world’s orange exports, well ahead of South Africa in second place, with 17% (1.2 million tons), followed by Egypt, with 10% (660,000 tons), Turkey, with 9% (621,000 tons), and the US, with 8% (570,000 tons), according to COMTRADE data. Spain dominates the world’s soft citrus category, too, accounting for 22% of all exports. Some way behind Spain lies China, in second place, with 10% (494,000 tons), followed by Turkey, with 9% (454,000 tons), South Africa, with 4% (201,000 tons) and Israel, with 2.6% (129,000 tons). 

 

Leading lemon/lime exporters

As for lemons and limes, in 2017, Mexico was the world’s largest exporter, with 24% of the market share (730,000 tons), followed closely behind by Spain (22%), with (690,000 tons), Turkey, with 15% (450,000 tons), and South Africa, with 9.5% (300,000 tons). The grapefruit segment sees South Africa out in front, with 20.5% of global exports (227,000 tons). The other major grapefruit producers are all in the Northern Hemisphere. Close behind South Africa comes China, with 17.5% (192,000 tons), followed some way back by Turkey, with 11.5% (127,000 tons) and the US, with 7.7% (85,000 tons).

 

The surge of
South American citrus

In recent times, South American producers have grown in prominence in the global citrus trade. Peru’s citrus exports have rocketed 380% in the last decade, while Chile’s are up 200%. Meanwhile, Egypt and Pakistan recorded 175% rises, and China and Turkey’s citrus exports have doubled. In volume terms, Turkey has seen the largest rise over the last ten years (+800,000 tons), followed by Spain, Egypt and China (+450,000 tons). 

 

Europeans prefer oranges,
Japanese prefer soft citrus

Demand for citrus varies greatly from region to region. The EU has the largest per capita consumption of oranges (8kg per year), while the Japanese consume less than 1kg per year on average, according to Freshfel data. However, in terms of soft citrus, the Russians (5.8kg) and the Japanese (5.2kg) lead the way, while Europeans consume just 4.6kg per capita. The North American consume the most lemons, with Canadians purchasing 2kg and US consumers 1.9kg of the fruit each year. As for grapefruit, Canadians once again lead the way alongside EU consumers (1.04 kg), with Russians consuming just 0.4kg of the fruit each year.

 

Russia is world’s number-one
citrus importer

EU countries import the largest volumes of citrus (including intra-EU trade), accounting for 45% of the world’s imported citrus volumes. However, the single country that imports the largest volumes of citrus is Russia (9.6%). While demand for citrus is growing worldwide, the picture is varied in different regions of the world. If we compare the 2005-07 average total citrus import volumes with the 2015-17 average, we find that the greatest proportionate increases have been recorded in Middle Africa (+1461%), Southern Asia (+372%), and Central Asia (+304%). In volume terms, over this ten-year period, demand for citrus has risen most in the EU (6.5 to 7.2 million tons, +10%), followed by Russia (1.0 to 1.5 million tons, +54%), North America (0.94 to 1.46 million tons, +55%) and Eastern Asia (0.86 to 1.1 million tons, +29%).

 

Chinese market dominated
by soft citrus

As the world’s largest citrus market (34 million tons), it is worth examining trade data for China. The Asia giant produces 34.1 million tons of citrus for the fresh market, of which soft citrus represents 62%, oranges comprise 21%, grapefruits account for 13%, and lemons constitute 4%. China is a net exporter of citrus (933,000 tons shipped abroad in 2017), with the main destination markets being Vietnam (17.6%), Russia (16.4%), Thailand (14.8%), the EU (11.8%) and Malaysia (10.6%). China’s imports of fresh citrus have steadily increased over the past ten years, from 560,000 tons, in 2008, to over 1 million tons in 2016. The main overseas source of citrus for the Chinese market is South Africa (35.9%), followed at some distance by the US (19.7%), Egypt (17.4%) and Australia (14.7%).

 

EU looks to South Africa
for citrus imports

Turning to the EU citrus market, the Europeans consume 11 million tons of citrus. Oranges account for 57% of the total (6.2 million tons), soft citrus represent 28%, lemons constitute 11%, followed by grapefruit (3%), and lime (1%). While citrus imports from outside the EU have fluctuated over the past ten years, largely in line with variations in European crops, they have tended to remain between 2 and 2.4 million tons per year. The major source of non-EU citrus is South Africa (653,000 tons), followed by Egypt (331,000 tons), Argentina (221,000 tons), Morocco (204,000 tons) and Turkey (186,000 tons). The share of non-EU imports represented by lemons (17%), grapefruit (14%) and limes (6%) is greater than their share of intra-EU trade, while the reverse is the case for oranges (42%) and soft citrus (21%).

 

Russia and the Gulf record
rises in citrus imports

Russia’s fresh citrus market consisted of 3.9 million tons of fruit in 2017. The category is divided between oranges (37%), satsumas (30%), lemons (14%), clementines (12%) and grapefruit (7%). The country’s citrus imports climbed steadily between 2004 and 2013 (from 0.82 to 1.68 million tons), before falling off slightly. The major supplier of citrus to the Russian market is Turkey (38%), followed by Egypt (16%), Morocco (15%), South Africa (9%) and China (8%).

Taking the Gulf market as a whole, citrus consumption climbed steadily between 2012 and 2016 (from 1.6 million tons to 1.9 million tons), before dropping off slightly in 2017 (1.68 million tons). The main suppliers of fresh citrus to the Gulf in 2017 were Egypt (525,000 tons), South Africa (430,000 tons), Turkey (120,000 tons), Pakistan (110,000 tons), Lebanon (47,000 tons) and Spain (43,000 tons).

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CVVP adds partners and launches Leanri

CVVP adds partners and launches Leanri, credit: CVVP
Credit: CVVP (https://cvvpspain.com/)

 

 

Spanish non-profit organisation CVVP (Compañía de Variedades Vegetales Protegidas) has been strengthened by the addition of a new partner, Fruit Growing Quality. Manager, Reyes Moratal, said, “With the incorporation of this company, we are progressing towards achieving our dual aims of attracting new members and diversifying our products.” Fruit Growing Quality produces gold and red kiwi marketed under the Kibi brand. “We are very pleased that a firm like Fruit Growing Quality trusts our organisation. This is a clear indication that our work is being appreciated by the sector. We welcome new partners to offer them the best possible service not only in citrus but also in other products like kiwis, berries, grapes.” The 2019/20 campaign will be the first commercial season for Leanri variety of mandarin, managed by CVVP since 2016. It is a high-quality mutation of Clementine x Murcott. The fruit, harvested between January and February, is seedless and has a red-orange colour, a round shape, and a smooth peel. Additionally, Summer Prim lemon variety will be available for next spring. This variety is in great demand among European distributors. 

For ten years, CVVP has supported its partner producers in the Spanish fruit sector. It provides auxiliary services to assist with the management, promotion, defence, licensing and development of protected varieties. Furthermore, it offers administration services, computer management and control, human resources, complementary and auxiliary marketing, communication and legal consulting services. CVVP comprises five partners: Club de Variedades Vegetales Protegidas, the Navel M-7 Association, New Lemon Company, ANBGCM Material Vegetal and Fruit Growing Quality.

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Spain’s juice industry cranks up with new citrus harvest

The EU is the principal market for Spanish fruit juice exports in general, taking almost 80% of the total volume, with France alone taking a third of Spain’s exported juice, followed by the UK with nearly 15%.

The staggered citrus harvest is underway in Spain and along with it the production of juices, which accounts for the majority of the fruit collected.

Asozumos, the Spanish association of juice manufacturers, says preliminary estimates suggest the harvest will net about 6 million tons, down 22% on previous seasons due to weather conditions including particularly high temperatures over summer.

Approximately 30% of the fruit is destined for fresh consumption and the rest for juice, it said in a press release.

Spain is the largest producer of orange juice in the European Union, with its orange juice exports last year worth about €260 million.

The EU is the principal market for Spanish fruit juice exports in general, taking almost 80% of the total volume, with France alone taking a third of Spain’s exported juice, followed by the UK with nearly 15%.

Asozumos said the Spanish citrus harvest generally takes place between October and May, depending on the weather, as a prelude to a subsequent process of selection, extraction, pasteurisation and packaging of the juice.

Valencia is Spain’s leading producer of citrus fruit, including oranges, tangerines, grapefruit and lemons, and represents 65% of the total volume, followed by the regions of Murcia and Andalusia with 21.8% and 7.2% respectively, Asozumos said.

Spain’s main citrus growing regions (naranjas=oranges, pomelos=grapefruit, limones=lemons)

“Orange juice retains the physical, chemical, organoleptic and nutritional characteristics of the fruit from which it comes and, by law, contains no added sugar,” it said.