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Uruguay expects around 35% export increase for 2024 citrus season

Uruguay's expectations for the coming 2024 citrus season is for around a 35% increase on last year's volumes. "We are recovering after the droughts. In general for oranges, mandarins and lemons, we are expecting an increase in export quality of between 30 to 35% more than in 2023," says Marta Bentancur, from the Union of Fruit Producers and Exporters of Uruguay (UPEFRUY).

She's reporting a good summer rainfall season that will likely lead to good sized fruit. "It has been raining lately and the size of the fruit today is promising. We will have good medium size quality fruit," states Bentancur. Last year's Uruguayan lemons exports was 8,416 tons, while orange exports was 26,059 tons. The mandarins exports was 33,840 tons with a total of 68,315 tons.

Early market outlook good
"In respect to demand for mandarins and oranges, things seem to be very good with good demand in USA and Europe as well. Prices are also promising by now to be able to arrive to our main markets with very good fruit. US seems to be excellent for mandarins and oranges and Europe has a very big demand for oranges. Mandarins in the EU and UK have a 16 % tariff."

The lemon markets are a different story. The export leaders of Argentina and South Africa are the countries to watch says Bentancur. "For lemons even when we had a very good season last year, uncertainty is the word by now. We will have to wait and see how Argentina and South Africa move and see how to manage the season. For all the different citrus types the prices per ton are now showing as satisfactory."

No direct Panama or Red Sea effects
Bentancur says while they are not directly affected by the Panama Canal delays or the Red Sea challenges it can affect them indirectly. "The Panama Canal is no issue for us directly since we go to the US via the Atlantic Ocean to Philadelphia. As for the Red Sea we export little to that area. The thing is that if other suppliers such as South Africa or even PerĂº cannot send fruit through the Canal, they will go to the US or send more to other markets which are supplied by us. So in the end, the issues of the Suez and Panama Canals will affect us all, directly or indirectly," explains Bentancur.

The Uruguayan producers say their trees are nice and full with the fruit developing good sizing and colour making them eager to get the season started soon. "Exporters are already eager to start the season and surely it will be with Clementines for the USA. We are looking to begin the 2024 citrus season at the end of March or start of April," concludes Bentancur.

For more information:
Marta Bentancur
Tel: +598 2916 0635