Uruguayan citrus exports reached US$77m for the January to October period of 2013, representing an increase on the two previous seasons. The latest figures from the Ministry of Agriculture show the value of shipments was up on 2012 and 2011, despite production falling 27 per cent compared to last year.
The fall was due to damage caused by a severe freeze in June 2012, from which trees are still recovering. Total output for 2013 is estimated to have reached 234,674 tonnes, the lowest volume for five years.
During this period, citrus shipments have contracted by an average of 5.7 per cent a year – the exception being 2010, in which they registered a sales value of US$85m.
The country has an estimated 14,000ha of citrus production, of which oranges account for approximately 6,500h and easy peelers for 5,800ha. Lemons and grapefruit make up the balance. The bulk of exports are destined for Europe, while Russia and Brazil are also important markets.
The opening of the US market last year was a boon for the industry. Foreign affairs minister Luis Almagro said the deal could be worth US$20m and benefit 15,000 workers.