South Africa has been betting heavily on citrus in recent years, doubling the purchase of citrus trees between 2012 and 2017 and reaching the 6.77 million trees. This interest in the production of citrus fruits is a concern for the Spanish sector, since both markets increasingly overlap one another and that entails more competition.
The data was provided last Friday by Inmaculada Sanfeliu, general director of the Citrus Management Committee, during an event on the PAC Reform: New challenges for competitiveness in the agricultural sector, organized in Valencia by the firm Andersen Tax & Legal. According to Sanfeliu, "the main threats for Spain's citrus production are the globalization of trade and offshoring."
"In addition to the overlapping of the production periods, the impact of South Africa's production on Spain has its origin in the 'zero tariff' established for the country by the European Union, not in the latest agreement, but in the previous one," said the leader. .
1 out of 3 mandarins is Spanish
Sanfeliu also presented an in-depth analysis of the Spanish citrus market. She said that, worldwide, Spain accounts for between 5% and 6% of the citrus fruit production (between 4% and 5% in the case of oranges and between 7% and 8% in the case of mandarins). But these percentages increase when it comes to exports. Spain markets between 25% and 26% of all citrus fruits, between 24% and 27% of oranges and between 35% and 37% of mandarins.
The European Union has a total of 554,000 hectares devoted to the production of citrus fruits, and 304,000 of these are in Spain. With between 58% and 61% of the production, the country is the largest producer and marketer of citrus fruits in the European Union.
For this reason, the event served to call for the European Union to promote competition rules to regulate the entry of third-party products and ensure that they compete on equal terms with local ones.