In recent months, various statements have been made from both Europe and the Spanish Government, claiming that the size of orange imports into the EU is comparable to that of previous years, before the agreement with South Africa. The Valencian crisis is thus attributed to internal and structural problems affecting citrus growing in this region.
Although it is true that some problems exist, the figures from the European Statistical Office (Eurostat) cannot be ignored. These show that imports have increased exponentially. Between 2013 and 2018, the amount of oranges and other citrus fruits arriving to the EU from third countries has increased by 39.9%.
If we look at the data published by the Valencian Association of Agricultural Producers (AVA-ASAJA), it appears that South Africa hasn't recorded the biggest growth. That honor corresponded to Morocco (+112.8%). Next in the ranking are Egypt, with a growth of 88.8%; Turkey (+56.6%) and lastly South Africa (+26%). The only imports that fell were those from Argentina, with an 8.7% drop.
However, in absolute terms, the citrus imports from South Africa are still the greatest by far. In 2013, the EU imported 645,085 tons of citrus from this country, and in 2018, that figure reached the 813,318 tons. Egypt was still far behind in 2018, with 339,648 tons exported to the EU.