Uruguayan citrus exports fell sharply in 2015 due to a sharp drop in shipments to the European Union, Russia and Brazil, Uruguay’s three biggest market.
Figures from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MGAP) showed that in spite of production rising 6 per cent to 306,000 tonnes, exports ended the year down 27.3 per cent at 98,000 tonnes, with a corresponding value of US$72.7m. In 2014 the country exported 125,000 tonnes with a value of US$100m.
Federico Montes of MGAP said that heavy rainfall during the spring of 2014 had had a serious impact on fruit quality and resulted in a high incidence of disease.
Uruguay was the country with the highest number of interceptions for EU-bound consignments found to contain citrus black spot. A total of 61 interceptions were made on EU exports of 55,000 tonnes, far higher than the 17 and 15 interceptions made on shipments from Argentina and South Africa respectively.
By contrast, exports to the US tripled to reach 15,000 tonnes this season, reflecting the market’s growing importance since it opened for Uruguayan citrus in 2013.
“One of our main goals in the coming years is to increase our penetration of this market,” Montes said. “Right now we don't have the varietal mix that the US market demands but we are starting to plant those varieties.”