Forecasts for the Sicilian citrus fruit campaign are not exactly positive. For years, the sector has been dealing with sudden climate change, dropping prices and a domestic market flooded with foreign productions."
"With the exception of blonde oranges and grapefruits, which are in line with the previous season,the 2019 Sicilian citrus fruit campaign will see a 20-30% drop in production, especially when it comes to lemons and tangerines," explains Salvatore Imbesi, consultant at Ortogel.
Ortogel sole administrator Vincenzo Rizzo reports that "in such a complex climate, we feel we are in good hands and would like to thank Salvatore Imbesi for his professionalism and competence. We need long-period plans to avoid having to improvise, as it only leads to confusion."
Salvatore Imbesi talked about the commercial volumes available for the produce destined to the processing industry.
Blood oranges: the scarce rainfall in April and May, combined with the drought and high temperatures in July and August, led to abundant blossoming and good setting, so there was hope for a good season.
However, consistent droppings caused a reduction in the volumes available. Production is expected to be similar to the past season, though everything still depends on the weather in autumn.
Blonde oranges: while quality will remain unvaried, quantities will change. Naveline will see a 20-30% drop, while Valencia volumes will remain similar to the previous year.
Lemons: they are experiencing the same problems as blood oranges, i.e. the weather has affected blossoming. According to Ortogel forecasts, there will be 20-30% fewer lemons available.
Tangerines: they suffered from the lack of water in April and May and from the adverse weather of the following months, so a 30% drop in production has been estimated.
Grapefruit: the pink grapefruit production is stable, while white grapefruit quantities will be more limited.