The Andalusian citrus campaign progresses slowly, with a delay of "up to a month and a half compared to the previous year," says Manuel Altava, vice president of Asaja Sevilla. However, prices at origin are good. In fact, with approximately 30% of the citrus harvest still to be done in Andalusia, and with half of the oranges from this second part of the campaign still on the tree, producers already describe this season as "a good one."
The quality of the fruit and the good prices marked the first part of the campaign, and this also applies now with the later varieties, with prices reaching up to 0.50 Euro / kilo for the Valencia Late variety between February and March. According to Manuel, the reason for these prices is "the fear of a possible shortage of fruit in the next few months."
In general terms, there appears to be a somewhat lower supply of fruit in this second part of the season than initially estimated, mostly due to climatic instability and a high production in the previous harvest. Therefore, it is very likely that Andalusia's final production figures will be slightly lower than expected.
The threat from Egypt
However, Andalusian producers have shown their concern about the pressure from Egypt's competition, especially in this second part of the campaign. "Over the last three years, it has actually managed to surpass Spain in the supply of Valencia Late oranges, which reach the European market a month and a half earlier and with much lower prices, as they are not subject to the wage, social and environmental standards of those produced in Spain," says Manuel.
Official figures confirm the increase in Egyptian citrus imports. In 2020, the European Union imported 284,936 tons of citrus from that country; 28.5% more than in 2019 (221,781 tons). When it comes to oranges alone, from September 2020 to February 2021, Europe imported a total of 55,264 tons from Egypt; 16.5% more than in the same period of the previous season.
After Egypt, South Africa and Turkey were the ones recording the most growth as suppliers of these fruits, with 26.4% more and 22.4% more than in the previous year, respectively.