According to Freshfel, citrus production in the Mediterranean basin countries should reach a total of 17,1 million tonnes, a decrease of 2,2% compared to last year.
The leading producing country Spain is recovering from low production levels last year with a 9% increase in its citrus production, rising to 5.9 million tonnes. Italy and Israel are both predicting a decrease by 22% and 10% respectively. Limited production increases are expected in Turkey (1%) and Cyprus (6%). In Morocco, first estimates by the industry indicate a total citrus production of almost 1.3 million tonnes, down by 2% compared to last year. Greece is expecting a rather similar production compared to last year.
Details by citrus category,
Orange production is forecast to be 6% down on last season. This is mainly due to a fall in production in Italy (-27%), Israel (-18%) and Turkey (-15%). Production in Spain is forecast to be 9% up on last season, with Cyprus, Greece and Morocco expected to produce similar amounts as the year before. It is noted that there will be a delay of maturity by almost two weeks in Spain as well as some other producing countries. Philippe Binard, General Delegate of Freshfel commented: “The later start of the NH orange season will allow for a softer transition of supply from southern to northern hemisphere fruit. As shipments to Europe are ending and moving towards Russia, the Middle East or Asia, this should help in clearing stocks from the Southern hemisphere”.
Easy peeler production is expected to be 3.3% up overall due to the 25% increase from Turkey, as well as Cyprus (10%), Israel (10%) and Spain (5%). Production levels in Greece are expected to remain constant overall, with decreases announced in Italy (-10%) and Morocco (-5% in particular due to late varieties, with the decrease partially offset by new Afourer plantings).
With regard to lemons, production is forecast to rise by 4.5% overall, with increases in production in Spain (20%), Turkey (15%) and Cyprus (10%), whilst Italy is registering a 20% decrease. The summer months recorded high prices due to the early end of Spanish fruit on the market and a better balance of supply between fresh and processed markets in the Southern Hemisphere.
Finally, grapefruit production in the Mediterranean basin is expected to decrease by 9.5% in total, due mainly to a fall of 14% in Israel’s production and by 10% in Turkey’s production. Only Spain is expecting an increase in production (6%).