Andalusia is a large citrus producer in Spain. According to data from the Junta de Andalusia, Andalusia produced 2,043,456 tons of citrus in the 2019-20 campaign, which accounts for approximately a third of the total national production. It is a very important volume, although still well below the 3,067,517 tons produced by the Valencian Community.
However, the progressive abandonment of cultivated fields that is taking place in Valencia –and that affects citrus productions– and the increase in the cultivated area in Andalusia in recent years could shorten the production gap between both autonomous communities.
At present, the community has 18,018 hectares of mandarins, according to data from the Junta, still below, for example, the 27,421 hectares that Castellon has. However, Andalusia continues to gain ground; in fact, two years ago they only had 15,000 hectares, concentrated mainly in the province of Huelva.
Meanwhile, Andalusia has a total of 56,283 hectares of oranges, almost half of which are concentrated in Seville, a much higher number than the 6,388 hectares that Castellon has.
What has caused this increase in Andalusia's citrus sector?
According to the Asaja delegation of this autonomous community, "a few years ago there was an important investment in modernizing the farms, which have become larger, and in renovating varieties. The goal was to cover the entire citrus campaign, as before that producers used to focus too much on the first part of the campaign. Now the production is much more distributed in the market."
It's quite the opposite of what happens in Castellon, where the small size of many fields prevents carrying out the automation processes that are taking place in other territories; and where the idea of undertaking a varietal renovation hasn't taken off yet. More than 80% of the fruit obtained in the province is Clemenules, which has a limited route on the supermarket shelves.
These data suggest that Andalusia could surpass Valencia's citrus production in the coming years.
According to La Unió de Llauradors, this would happen in five or six years if the situation does not change. The Andalusian Association of Nurseries and Florists said there is a shift in production from the Region to Andalusia because the farms are more extensive and modern.