At its last meeting, which was attended by Asaja, the Citrus Working Group of the Spanish-French-Italian-Portuguese Mixed Committee took stock of the current citrus campaign and reviewed the sector's main problems.
Lemon and grapefruit
According to Asaja, the group said the 2020/2021 lemon campaign was complicated because it is estimated that production could yield a record-breaking 1,290,000 tons. The start of the Fino lemon campaign was positive because Turkey had a sharp drop in production and was absent from the market between September and December. In addition, the campaigns in Argentina and South Africa ended early; Argentina due to black spot problems, which meant the closure of imports to the EU in July, and South Africa because it started selling to the EU very early with the onset of the pandemic.
One of the negative aspects of the campaign was the halt of consumption throughout the EU in the Horeca channel. Another problem was placing the second category in the fresh market given the enormous production obtained.
Moreover, lemon prices at the origin have been significantly lower than at the beginning of the previous season, although they have covered the reference production costs. In addition, the price of the product for the industry has been significantly lower than in previous years due to the extraordinary supply/demand situation, the working group stated.
According to the citrus group, the grapefruit campaign has been "quiet and stable, beginning and ending soon (ended in April) with stable prices and volumes, with a slight upward trend in export volumes.
The orange campaign has been strange and its results vary depending on the variety. It started with attractive prices for early varieties, as noted by Asaja, and then there was a stop in demand, which has not improved later during the campaign, especially affecting the Clemenules and Navelina varieties. At the end of the season there has been a slight increase in foreign demand, but in global terms exports have not increased significantly.
In fact, the figures up to March 31, 2021, show that orange exports fell by 6% over the same date last year.
According to the Citrus working group of the Mixed Committee, the great threat has been Egypt, with significant tonnages of Valencia variety oranges at only 0.50 euro/kg on the market (which was the price paid in the EU to the producer in the field, so competition was impossible). With data up to March 31, 2021, Egypt has exported 43,000 tons more than in the previous season (in total, 146,000 tons).