MY 2018/19 EU citrus production is projected to reach 11.6 MMT, an eight percent rise compared to previous year and consistent with previous estimates. The regional increase is due to an expected rebound in Spanish production, the EU’s main citrus producer.
Favorable weather conditions facilitated good flowering and fruit setting. Spain expects a 14.6 percent increase in citrus production from the previous year at 7.3 MMT and 0.4 percent higher than previous estimates. In February 2019, Spanish growers protested against the European Commission as the rise in EU imports of South African citrus lowered EU prices. However, the rebound of EU citrus production may result in a reduction in EU citrus imports. Strategic markets destinations for EU citrus exports continue to be Canada, the Middle East and China. In addition, in MY 2017/18 EU imports of U.S. grapefruit and orange juice declined due to a decrease in U.S. production.
Spain and Italy are leading EU citrus producers
EU citrus production is concentrated in the Mediterranean region. Spain and Italy represent the leading EU citrus producers, followed by Greece, Portugal, and Cyprus. For MY (October/September) 2018/19, Post expects overall citrus production to grow mainly in Spain due to favorable weather conditions. The quality of the fruit is forecast to be excellent and EU domestic consumption of citrus may stay flat in MY 2018/19.
For MY 2018/19, EU orange production is forecast at 6.5 MMT, 4 percent higher than MY 2017/18 due to expected growths in Spain and Portugal and in line with previous estimation. Correspondingly, orange juice production in the EU is forecast to rise 9 percent to 106,120 MT, as more oranges are available for processing. MY 2018/19 EU-28 tangerine production is forecast to rise almost 17 percent to 3.4 MMT, supported by expected growth in the main producing areas of Spain and Italy.
Despite production growth, over the last eight years, total EU planted area for orange has shrunk almost 12 percent and tangerine 9 percent. This signals that farms are increasing productivity and performance.
Similarly, MY 2018/19 EU lemon production is forecast to grow by about 10 percent to 1.6 MMT. EU grapefruit production is also forecast to grow 2.8 percent to 110,000 MT, due to the expected strong rise in Spanish, EU’s major lemon and grapefruit producer. Total EU lemon and grapefruit area planted continues to expand by 4.5 and 1 percent respectively since 2011.