According to Ricardo Serra, the president of Asaja Sevilla, this campaign in the Andalusian province has improved when compared to the previous citrus campaign, when orange prices sank below production costs. In fact, the prices of the Navelina variety at the beginning of the campaign, which differ according to the different qualities, stood at around 0.21-0.22 euro per kilo, i.e. 40% higher than the prices achieved in the same period of the previous campaign, Serra stressed.
Unlike the previous year, when there was a very abundant harvest in virtually all varieties, the Junta de Andalucia predicts a 6% drop in citrus fruits this season, mainly due to the decrease in sweet orange (11%) and lemon (16%). "According to what we've seen in this first part of the campaign, it seems that there will be even less fruit than what we initially expected," stated Serra.
In addition, many citrus plantations are giving lower yields after many producers decided not to harvest the fruits in the previous campaign due to the continuous decline in prices in the market, which wore the trees that had the fruit on them for a prolonged period of time.
"We are optimistic that prices will normalize this campaign because we'll have a lower harvest, there is an incipient demand for citrus fruits, and the drop in temperature encourages consumption," he stated.
Producers in this campaign will have more transparent information on the evolution of the citrus market, as the new observatory of the EU citrus market, in which Serra acts as a Spanish representative, will disseminate data, price, production, and trade analysis, as well as reports of short and medium-term prospects.
Spain's role as the main citrus producer in the European Union was highlighted during the observatory's constitutive session, which was recently held. In addition, the participants of the event also spoke about imports from third countries, such as South Africa or Egypt, that have been making large investments in new plantations in recent years, which are expected to increase their pressure on community markets in the future.
According to Asaja Sevilla, this new instrument will be useful as long as the information is handled properly. They criticized that, for the moment, there is only one annual meeting of experts planned when the citrus sector has many open fronts, such as the Brexit and the Mercosur treaty, that may be more or less harmful to Andalusia.