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"Apathy in sales and consumption of citrus in Europe"

Just over a month ago, the Council of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development of Andalusia announced its prospects for the 2017-2018 citrus campaign. The technicians of the Regional Administration estimate that this season's production in the province of Cordoba will reach 249,220 tonnes. This is 12,813 less than in the 2016-2017 campaign, which in relative terms means a decrease of almost 5 percent. This drop has turned out to be higher than the one predicted for the whole of Andalusia (-2.8%).

Cordoba ranks third in Andalusia in terms of acreage devoted to this crop, with a total of more than 11,000 hectares, being surpassed only by Seville and Huelva. Within the province, the municipality with the most hectares is Hornachuelos (5,254 hectares) followed by Palma del Río (3,693). The president of the citrus association Palmanaranja, Antonio Carmona, reported that the results during the first weeks of the campaign have been unusual. "The season started well, but lately we have noticed some apathy in the sales and consumption in some European areas," said the executive.

Some of the countries that are most affected by this situation are France, Belgium and the Netherlands, which are important buyers of citrus produced in Cordoba. Carmona pointed out that the reason for this is the availability of fruits from the previous season from the southern hemisphere. "It is true that we started harvesting a week earlier than usual this year due to the good ripeness of the oranges and that this may have partly caused this situation, but we hope things will go back to normal soon," he said.

After the start of the campaign, producers have corrected the forecasts initially published by the regional government. The head of Palmanaranja said that their estimates now point to the possibility of the final harvest being reduced by between 5 and 10 percent compared to the previous year, at least in the case of the first varieties that are being harvested in the region of the Vega del Guadalquivir. Regarding prices, he said that they remain stable compared to last year. At Asaja they are somewhat less optimistic and point out that the production volume will fall by between 20 and 25 percent compared to the previous year. The main reason for this is the lack of rainfall.


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