Total citrus production in Israel is forecast to be around 627,000 tonnes in 2009/10, a 10 per cent increase compared with the previous year's figure.
According to a new report issued by the USDA, approximately 183,000 tonnes of that production, or 29 per cent of the national crop, is due to be exported, while 260,000 tonnes (42 per cent) will be processed and the remainder consumed fresh.
The expected increase is mainly due to increased yields of the Or easy-peeler variety and of red grapefruit, the report revealed.
Last season, despite being faced not only with the global economic recession but also with unfavorable exchange rates between the euro and US dollar in the last four months of 2008, Israel's citrus exports increased by 1 per cent to 173,400 tonnes, the report found.
The slight increase also came despite a reduction in imports of Israeli citrus into Scandinavian countries, the UK and France.
In August 2009, planted area for Israeli citrus amounted to some 17,724ha, of which 83 per cent are bearing fruit.
In 2008 and 2009, around 1,436ha of fresh citrus were planted, mainly easy peelers (Or and Ora), red grapefruit (Star-Ruby and Rio-Red) and Newhole (oranges), the USDA said.
Meanwhile, about 1,633ha of citrus – mainly white grapefruit, Sweetie, Shamouti oranges, and pomelo (white and Chandler) – were uprooted in 2008 and 2009 due to low profitability.