"Lorenzo Reyes: "Prices have not met our expectations"

"South African citrus fruits currently have better calibres and ripeness than Huelva's"

The citrus fruits of the early agricultural campaign in the province of Huelva have been "harmed" by those imported from South Africa to European countries, which arrive with "better ripeness and calibres, since they are varieties that are harvested in the province and in the Peninsula between the months of January and February."

The president of the Association of Citrus Producers of the province of Huelva, Lorenzo Reyes, explained that the campaign kicked off a month ago, in late September, and that "the calibre of the fruit this early in the season has been a little small, given the lack of rainfall and the very hot summer."

As for the variety imported from the African country, he explained that "they are hybrid oranges with an attractive calibre which are harming the competitiveness of our fruit, whose production won't be large this year." Nevertheless, "prices are currently low and are not meeting our expectations."

However, he believes that "the campaign will still take an important turn with the mandarin harvest, which will kick off in January." That is when he expects the fruit's calibres to recover and for the campaign "to take the desired course."

The Council of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development of Andalusia predicted that the region's citrus production in the 2017-2018 campaign would reach 2,018,048 tonnes; a similar figure to that of the previous season, according to the data presented by the General Secretary of Agriculture and Food, Rafael Peral, in the eighth meeting of the citrus board, held in San Bartolomé de la Torre (Huelva). The figure is 1.6 percent higher than the average of the last four campaigns.

Huelva is expected to remain the second province with the largest production in Andalusia, with 523,173 tonnes, only behind Seville, which tops the ranking with 792,576 tonnes, representing 39 percent of the Andalusian production. In total, both provinces account for 65 percent of the citrus production in Andalusia.

For its part, Huelva will be the biggest producer of mandarins, with 57 percent of the region's total volume, and the second largest producer of sweet oranges, with 21 percent of the total. Forecasts point to a 7.1 percent drop in the sweet orange production and a slight growth of the mandarin production (3.4 percent).

In the 2016-2017 campaign, Andalusia produced 2.07 million tonnes, 18 percent of which was exported. In recent years, the value of Andalusian citrus exports has maintained an upward trend, standing at around 290 million Euro in the 2016-2017 campaign, with more than 370,000 tonnes marketed.

By species, orange exports from Andalusia reached 275,000 tonnes (184 million Euro), accounting for 17.5 percent of the production obtained. Mandarin exports exceeded 50,000 tonnes (44 million Euro), which represented 14.3 percent of the harvest, and lemon shipments totalled 36,000 tonnes (50 million Euro), corresponding to 31.2 percent of the production.

Source: Europa Press

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