The Councilor of Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development of Andalusia, Carmen Crespo, recently presented the region's official citrus production estimates for the 2023-2024 campaign.
"This year, Andalusia will produce 32% of all Spanish citrus and 44.6% of the oranges," said Carmen Crespo. Andalusia is expected to produce a total of around 1.86 million tons in the 2023-2024 campaign. "The campaign should be similar to the previous one, except in provinces such as Seville or Cordoba, where the production will drop." The Councilor reported that "a slight 1.7% drop" is expected at regional level, but that the provinces of Cordoba and Seville will suffer a 20% drop "as a result of the impact of drought."
In any case, Seville remains the largest producer, with around 637,770 tons of citrus expected this campaign; followed by Huelva, where 613,520 tons are expected to be harvested. These two provinces account for 67% of the total of Andalusia. In third place is Almeria, which accounts for 25% of the Andalusian total (216,330 tons).
Crespo recalled that prices "remained stable last season" and expressed her hope that in 2023-2024 "there will be a similar situation. That is what we need at this time, not just a similar production, but also stable prices," she said.
"Among other issues, we are keeping a close eye on the threat of HLB," said Crespo regarding the work carried out by the regional Government to prevent Andalusian citrus from being affected by diseases that could reduce the production.
This work is being carried out in the framework of the Andalusian Citrus Phytosanitary Surveillance Plan of the Council of Agriculture, which also foresees the implementation of the Life for Citrus project in the fields of Andalusia. "This initiative has helped prevent the spread of diseases and pests as serious as HLB or Xylella fastidiosa, helping also move forward in the study of other potential threats," said Carmen Crespo.
Citrus from third countries
The regional head of Agriculture lamented how there is going to be "a reduction in the tariffs in the trade agreements with third countries. Given this situation, Andalusia has asked the central government to request data from the European Union to find out the volume of South African oranges that are imported by the European Union and, thus, to know if it is really complying with the quotas and tariffs currently established."
Regarding Egypt, whose campaign overlaps with Spain's and has been experiencing a boom in recent times, Crespo said that "it is necessary to pay very close attention, and so we have asked the Ministry, to ensure that all mandatory tariffs and taxes are paid. This is essential to look after our citrus producers. Also, when signing new agreements with third countries, we should prioritize the productions that do not overlap with the European campaigns, and mirror clauses should be included," she said.
Estimates by provinces and varieties
When it comes to citrus production, Andalusia is the second most important autonomous region in Spain and has about 89,700 hectares devoted to this crop. The prospects from the Council of Agriculture predict that the total citrus production in Almeria in the 2023-2024 campaign will exceed 216,330 tons. In Cadiz, it should amount to around 64,550 tons; in Cordoba, to 187,700 tons; in Granada, to 5,620 tons; in Huelva, to 613,520 tons; in Malaga, to 134,070 tons; and in Seville, to 637,770 tons.
By species, sweet oranges stand out the most and account for 63% of the production (1,177,950 tons). This crop is followed by mandarins, which account for almost 29% (about 535,800 tons). Lemons, meanwhile, account for 6% of the total production, with around 110,960 tons. In addition to these fruits, the report also includes data on the production of grapefruit (26,164 tons) and other citrus crops (3,484 tons).
Regarding the acreages, from the 89,700 hectares devoted to citrus in Andalusia for the 2023-2024 campaign, 60,800 hectares correspond to sweet oranges and about 20,240 hectares to mandarins. The lemon acreage amounts to around 7,075 hectares and other citrus crops take about 1,565 hectares.