Philippines to be a complementary destination for Uruguayan citrus fruit

The world of citrus, which allowed Uruguay to place about 100 thousand tons for US $ 86 million in 2016, is moving. And that movement includes the arrival in the country in September of a Philippine health mission with the intention of obtaining the opening of that market for the Uruguayan production of citrus fruits.

The citrus advisor to the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries (MGAP) and director of Agricultural Services, Federico Montes, confirmed to El Observador Agropecuario that the Philippines "will be a complementary market, due to the quality and size of the fruit, in addition to the EU and the US," Uruguay's main destinations.

Montes explained that the Filipino market is similar to China and "the opening" to Uruguayan citrus farmers is in high demand. The Uruguayan authorities expect the Philippine market to become operational by 2018.

China has been another innovation for the citrus sector, as the market was enabled in the same mission that Montes led when the agreement was signed in October 2016, by the phytosanitary protocol for the export of soy to the Asian giant.

The Chinese market for Uruguayan citrus was lost in 2012 and, after last year's reopening, 14 containers have already been shipped for 350 tonnes of fruit in 2017.

Regarding India, "we are working on the experience of a pilot export plan," Montes said.

Production and exports
Citrus production for 2017 was estimated last May by the Directorate of Agricultural Statistics (DIEA) at 271,573 tonnes of the four main species produced in the country - orange, mandarin, lemon and grapefruit -, a figure similar to 2016, when 271,114 tonnes were harvested.

The production of oranges could reach 130,832 tons, followed by mandarins, with 97,141 tons; lemons, with 42,627 tons; and grapefruits, which continues to decline, with 973 tons.

Regarding exports, 72,150 tons have been placed to date, and "surely the year will close with at least 100 thousand tons sold," revealed Montes. This is a figure similar to last year's.

By percentages, the orange occupies about 45% of the placements, followed by the mandarin with 35% of the total.

Regarding the destination of the Uruguayan citrus fruit, 45% of the exported volume goes to the European market; 29% for the USA; 10% to Russia; 8% is placed in Brazil; and the rest to others, including Canada, Saudi Arabia and, as of this year, also China.

Montes highlighted the diversification of markets that Uruguay has achieved since the beginning of the Strategic Plan in 2011, where 80% of the fruit went to the EU. 


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