The start of the Spanish citrus season is approaching and, as every year, fruit imports from third countries remain in the spotlight for the sector. In the month of August that has just ended, the South African Government made a surprising public communication warning of the blockade of 2,000 containers of South African citrus in ports of Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden for not having undergone the cold treatment in force in the EU since last June 24.
In the same official communication, the South African Government assured that "it reached an agreement with the European Commission so that these 2,000 containers would be unblocked and enter the Union once a cold treatment had been carried out in the European ports where the citrus fruits had been detained." According to the same communication, the first countries to accept this were the Netherlands and Italy, as pointed out by MEP Inma Rodríguez-Piñero in a question on this agreement made to the European Commission.
However, the latest report of the Enhanced Monitoring of citrus imports by the EU, published just two days ago by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA), reveals that total imports of citrus in the EU have recorded a year-on-year decline of 7.4% in the first half of 2022, totaling 742,894 tons, and of 4.6% compared to the average of the previous five years.
The most imported citrus fruit by the EU market has been mandarins, with 41% of the total, ahead of oranges, which accounted for 35.4%.
All citrus fruits, except lemons, which recorded a significant increase, have experienced declines compared to 2021. Although there was a drop in the shipments of the main supplying countries, Turkey (+36.9%) and Argentina (+36.4%) have recorded increases. Meanwhile, South Africa recorded a slight 0.7% increase in its shipments between January and June of 2022.
Regarding the 2021/22 season, 1,462,130 tons have been imported from September 2021 to June 2022, a very similar figure to that of the 2020/21 season (+0.1%) and to the average (+0.4%). From November onwards, the quantities imported were significantly lower, although in the month of June imports stood 10% above the average for this month, said the MAPA.
During the first seven months of 2022, 293,658 tons were imported; this is 34% less (-151,400 t) than in 2021 and 32% less (-138,200 t) than average.
All countries have recorded sharp drops both compared to last year 2021 and to the average. Egypt, the main supplier in this period with 74% of the total, recorded a significant drop of 29.6% compared to the previous season. In the case of South Africa, its shipments fell by 66.3%, and Morocco's exports dropped by 59% compared to the average.
In the entire 2021/22 season (September 2021/July 2022), 629,556 tons have been imported. This is 16.1% and 16.7% (-126,500 t) less than in the previous season and the average, respectively.
From January to June 2022, 224,402 tons of small citrus fruits were imported. This is 6% less (-14,400 t) than in the same period of 2021, although 9.1% more (18,800 t) than the average.
The main supplier in the first half of 2022 has been Morocco, with 35% of the total and a 12.8% increase (+9,000 t) in its share compared to the average. Meanwhile, Turkey recorded an increase of 56.5%, and Egypt grew by 47.2%.
During the ten months of the 2021/22 season (Sept/Jun), 376,155 tons have been imported, which is 8.2% (+28,500 t) more than last season and 22.11% more (+68,000 t) than the average.
Morocco is the leading supplier for the period, with a 34.3% share and a 16.9% increase (+18,700 t) compared to the average. South Africa, meanwhile, grew by 79.6% (+32,700 t), increasing its share by 6.3 points.
In the first six months of 2022, 159,490 tons of lemons have been imported by the EU. This is 104% (+81,300 t) more than what was imported in the same period last year, and 63.5% more (69,900 t) than the average amount of the previous five years. There have been significant monthly increases, especially in the months of May and June.
Turkey was the leading supplier in this period, with a 43.4% share, followed by South Africa (28.8%) and Argentina (24.7%). The Eurasian country increased its volume by 91.9% (+33,100 t) compared to the average; South Africa, by 71.4% (+19,100 t), and Argentina, by 37.5% (+10,700 t).
Regarding the ten months of the 2021/22 season, between September 2021 and June 2022, 303,559 tons have been imported. This is 67.5% more (+122,400 t) than during the same period of the previous year, and 46.2% more (+96,000 t) than the average. In this period, shipments from South Africa increased by 108.7% (+45,400t).
During the first six months of the 2022 campaign, 106,710 tons of grapefruit were imported. This is a 19.3% less (-25,500t) than last year, and 20.1% less (-26,900t) than average.
From September 2021 to June 2022, 194,226 tons were imported, down 29%, both compared to 2021 and to the average (-80,000 t).
You can view the full report in more detail here.