Overall, in marketing year 2018/19 citrus production in China is forecast to continue to increase, although much of this growth will be for mandarins and tangerines. The expansion of citrus production in China is being driven by increased area in western regions such as Guangxi and Sichuan provinces.
Because of the rapid expansion in citrus planted area, industry contacts expect strong growth in production for the next few years as planted trees come into production. Orange production in MY 2018/19, however, is expected to be down slightly as a result of a smaller crop in the traditional Jiangxi province growing areas. Chinese orange imports are expected to be robust due to the rising demand for counter-seasonal fruits, as well as premium high-quality fruits, by middle-class Chinese consumers.
Orange production is forecast at 7.2 million metric tons (MMT) in MY 2018/19 (November –October), down slightly from the previous year’s production. This is primarily as a result of a smaller crop in the main Jiangxi province growing areas, where production is expected to be down 20-30 percent compared to last year. This lower production, however, is likely to be mostly offset by expanded acreage and new trees coming into production in growing areas in Chongqing, Hunan and Hubei as well as other western regions.
Orange consumption in MY2018/2019 is forecast to fall slightly because of a smaller crop in Jiangxi province, and fewer normal-sized oranges which are in high demand among Chinese consumers. In recent years, consumers have paid more attention to fruit freshness and taste, and are more attracted by convenient and innovative packaging. As a result, many large processors have been investing in upgrading their packing facilities by adding new equipment. This equipment can sort not only by size but also by brix content, and can individually pack each “premium” orange in special plastic bags and then into gift boxes for retail or e-commerce.