The Egyptian citrus season has started and is fueled by strong demand for vitamin C rich fresh fruit.
"Egyptian citrus has been growing at a rapid pace over the past few years and each crop sees an increase in volumes and quality also continues to improve year-on-year," Vanguard International says in a release.
Last year, total Egyptian citrus export volume was approximately 80 million cartons. There is an expected increase of 20 percent this year in large part due to new plantings and young trees coming into production. Advanced agricultural practices and preparation techniques are also playing a significant role in the increasing volumes of citrus fit for export. Lastly, investments in new packing technologies are also helping get more citrus on the shelf.
Egyptian citrus export volume is expected to increase by 20 percent.
Weather and sizing
In 2019/2020 there were weather challenges with a strong heat wave that disrupted fruit growth, resulting in a slightly reduced crop. This growing season, the weather was nearly perfect for citrus farming that will help Egypt to reach a 20 percent increase in volume.
All provisional information received points to a record crop with very good quality when looking at color, skin texture, firmness and flavor.
The Navel crop has started harvest and the fruit looks very good. Sugar levels are high at around 13-14 percent and the taste notes are great. Fruit is firm and skins are smooth with a full orange colour. The fruit is slightly bigger than last year and peak on count 48/56. Egyptian Navels are expected to keep running until mid-January (week three) with some growers finishing slightly later in week five.
This season is unlike the 2019/2020 where a strong heat wave led, in part, to a smaller citrus crop.
After Navels, growers will turn their attention to the Valencia variety at the end of January (week five). The Valencia crop, although still six weeks away, also looks very promising with peak sizes expected around counts 56/64. The skins are smooth and the condition seems stronger than last year, which will yield longer shelf life and better eating quality.
Looking at soft citrus, growers are busy with Fremont and Merave crops. Size spread is good and brix levels are between 12 and 14 percent. Volume is expected to be down by around 20 percent due to the alternative bearing nature of soft citrus. The three varieties already being packed are Orri, Honey Murcott and Golden Nugget.
Orri will finish off by the end of January (week five) and Honey Murcotts will finish by the end of April (week 18). Fruit size spread is good and the fruit quality is better than last year with smooth skins and very good eating quality.
The Egyptian citrus season is expected to have good quality and volumes.
Trading and quantities
Vanguard predicts an Egyptian Citrus season filled with good quality and condition and good volumes to match. With continued positive weather and no unforeseen interruptions, this season’s total Egyptian citrus crop is estimated to yield between 96–100 million cartons packed.