Uruguayan citrus continues to make steady inroads into the US market, with exports forecast to reach 15,000 tonnes in 2015. The South American country has gained a firm foothold in the market since gaining access to in 2013 and while Europe still accounts for the bulk of exports, companies are diverting a growing proportion of their crop to the US.
“The US offers excellent opportunities for Uruguayan citrus and is set to become an important market for us. It is prepared to pay higher prices than Europe and we’re not subjected to tariffs as we are with the EU,” Marta Bentancur of Upefruy told Fruitnet.
Between 1 March and 30 May Satsuma and clementine shipments to the US reached 7,580 tonnes with an FOB value of US$20.3m. Sendings to the UK during the same period totalled 2,927 tonnes, showing the clear migration towards the former.
According to Bentancur, clementines, Murcott and Navel oranges have the highest potential.
“We are also trialling a number of early Satsuma varieties and are due to commence lemon shipments later this year,” she said.
Figures from the agriculture ministry suggest total citrus production is set to rise by 6.4 per cent in 2015. The bulk of the increase will come from mandarins, which are up 25 per cent at 131,000 tonnes, while orange production is down 6.5 per cent to 140,800 tonnes. Lemon and grapefruit production are projected to reach 32,000 tonnes and 1,400 tonnes respectively.