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Stable campaign expected

Spain: Castellon starts exporting citrus fruits to the US

This week, the citrus sector is starting what is expected to be a stable export campaign to the United States due to two fundamental reasons. On the one hand, the drop in the citrus production in the current season and the excellent quality of the fruit suggests that the supply will be lower than the demand. On the other hand, the US market enforces very strict export requirements, which prevents growth from taking place in a remarkable way, especially in a campaign where there will be less fruit, so it seems that exporters will prefer closer markets, especially European ones, according to business sources.

In any case, the province's citrus sector continues to make a "significant effort" in the US market, despite the severe conditions imposed for the entry of the fruit into the country.

The forecasts for this citrus export season to the US remain at the same levels as in previous years. In this sense, as was already the case in previous seasons, the prospect for the current campaign is for around nine ships to depart from the Port of Castellon; a figure that could still increase depending on the demand. The first of the ships will leave this week, as pointed out by sources of the Port of Castellon.

All in all, the campaign will kick off around the same date as in previous seasons and with the same prospects: to reach a volume of about 25,000 tonnes of citrus exported, according to business sources.

The quality of the fruit is the main advantage for the exporters in the 2017-2018 campaign. Thus, in spite of the expected drop in the production compared to the previous one, the goal is to reach the 25,000 tonnes of citrus that were sold in the US market in the previous season.

It is worth recalling that the citrus production in the Region of Valencia is expected to record a significant reduction, reaching around 3.1 million tonnes, which entails a 20.3% drop compared to 2016, with about 800,000 tonnes less, according to the data presented by the Council.

By provinces, of the 799,229 tonnes lost in the entire Region of Valencia, 57.5% correspond to Valencia, with a drop of 459,267 tonnes; 23.6% to Castellon (-188,506 tonnes) and the remaining 18.9% to Alicante (-151,456 tonnes).

The reduction, which affects mainly mandarins (-24%), but also oranges (-17%) and lemons (-16%), is mainly due to the rains recorded at the end of last year, which weakened the trees. The cultivation area has been reduced by 2,000 hectares and "good quality" and "good sizes" are expected thanks to the rains of late August and September.


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