Italy: 2017/18 citrus fruit season

Compared to the last few seasons, the 2017/18 domestic citrus fruit production registered a 5-10% drop, depending on the region and production area. This was due to the weather, which hindered fruit development and droppings. The drought and high temperatures affected the physiological behaviour of plants, with serious repercussions on fruit characteristics. As regards the Brix levels, they should be slightly higher than standard.

An operator explained that "In Sicily, grades are small for many oranges of the Moro and Tarocco cultivars. Saleable produce is expected to drop between 35 and 40%. The phenomenon is made worse by the fact that some groves are affected by the Tristeza virus."

(Archive photo)

As regards Calabria, Basilicata and southern Puglia, it seems values will be consistent with average yields per hectare of clementines and Navelina/Navel oranges. "We're looking at a 5-7% loss, which should be compensated by new Clementine orchards and new early/late hybrids. Quantities seem satisfactory for the Navelina cultivar, although grades are average."

According to the operator, the characteristics of the produce could improve in general if rainfall and temperatures will be favourable in September and October.

Commercialisation perspectives remain connected to the factors that globalisation has produced over the years. "We need to deal with competition from Spain, Turkey, Greece and from the Maghreb countries, which are well organised and can therefore reach the European market."

"We are currently observing production and making a few negotiations. We are waiting for it to rain to see how fruits will react. In Sicily, operators are looking for early produce with good grades. Quotations should be around €0.30-0.35/kg for the Moro variety and €0.40-0.45 for the Tarocco variety."

(Archive photo)

In the Sibari plain in Calabria, it seems some prices have been established at €0.30-0.35/kg for early Clementines and €0.25-0.30/kg for Navelina oranges. In Basilicata and southern Puglia, negotiations are not over as quality is still being assessed. 

The first serious negotiations will end in 15 days' time.

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