One of the leading citrus producers from Uruguay, Naranjales Guarino, expects a 10% increase in their production volumes of early mandarins (clementines) that are mainly exported to the USA. Europe is the main market for their oranges and lemons, where there is good early demand. For this 2022/23 citrus campaign they have worries about shipping challenges and increasing costs as well as the effect of the Russian war in Ukraine - both secondary markets for them - on world markets.
According to Monica Coito, from the Guarino international sales department, their main market for mandarins is the USA. Their main market for oranges and lemons is Europe. The group exports about 400 containers of citrus per season. “Our alternative markets used to be Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Some markets are concerned about the situation in Russia and Ukraine, they are important markets for us, and their absence generates some uncertainty. Other markets like USA and Europe seem to be normal but suffering the impact of a disproportionate increase in logistics costs. We are just starting, but lemons seem to have good demand in Europe, at least at the beginning of the season.”
Despite this uncertainty, Coito says they expect normal prices according to historical averages. Producers in Uruguay face the same increasing input price squeeze experienced around the world. This includes higher shipping rates.
“As for the costs of chemical products, they did increase, and labour in dollars increased (more due to a peso-dollar relationship than due to a real increase in wages). The availability of vessels and containers is totally a challenge since last year. Maritime lines are not giving good service but besides this, they increased all the rates again this year, doubling them in some cases."
Naranjales Guarino, head office is in Montevideo, Uruguay, with production units that has two packing plants in constant operation, one for export and the other for the domestic market. They also have a store located in the Mercado Modelo (Montevideo) for logistics tasks with local supermarkets.
The company owns a nursery that has seen a good expansion of citrus plant sales over the past few years. “We have multiplied our sales by five in the last four years. Now at this time we are expanding our capacity by another 20%. The most widely ordered and planted citrus at the moment are easy peelers and seedless mandarins, not necessarily the patented ones but the ones that exhibit both conditions,” explains Coito.