In mid-June, while other citrus varieties are still in the fruit developing stage, Satsuma mandarins from Chongzuo, Guangxi have begun to be harvested and marketed, marking the start of the citrus sales season. Satsuma mandarins from Chongzuo are known as "China's earliest mandarins”. The region belongs to the subtropical monsoon climate zone with a mild climate and abundant sunlight, which is beneficial for the growth and development of tropical and subtropical fruits.
A small volume of early and extra-early citrus trickles onto the market in mid-to-late June each year, while early products from Hunan, Yunnan, and other production areas are not available until mid-July. The harvest season this year is nearly a week earlier than last year, as traders wanted to take advantage of the Dragon Boat Festival. The original plan was to start harvesting the fruit ten days later. At this stage, the taste of early mandarins is still quite tart and the majority of the fruit is in the size range of 50-55mm, so only the more ripe fruit is picked.
Generally speaking, mandarins from Yunnan become available in small volumes two weeks after Satsuma mandarins from Chongzuo become available. After another two weeks, early mandarins from Hunan, Hubei, and other parts of Guangxi begin to trickle into the market. This year, the extra-early mandarins start from 55mm, and are marketed at 3.5 yuan per half a kilo; the early products start from 60mm and are marketed at 3.0 yuan per half a kilo. It is predicted that the price of early mandarins will pick up in July.
At present, the planted area and total production of citrus have leaped to the top among all fruit categories, making it the largest fruit crop in China. With the increasing production, oversupply is becoming more and more notable. Data shows that China’s citrus production in 2019 was 43,655,700 tons, 95% of which were marketed as fresh products and about 5% were used for processing. The per capita consumption of citrus in China was 30.2 kilos (about 20 kilos in the world).