Spain Citrus

Citrus production across the Northern Hemisphere will fall by 2 per cent to 21.4m tonnes during the 2008/09 season, despite a significant increase in Spanish production.

That's the verdict of Freshfel, the European fresh produce association, which has released its citrus production forecast for the upcoming season.

Spain is expected to see a 23 per cent jump in citrus volumes, up to 6.54m tonnes from last season's 5.33m tonnes, with Morocco (up 10 per cent to 1.36m tonnes), Turkey (up 4 per cent to 2.4m tonnes) and Israel (up 4 per cent to 547,000 tonnes) also forecast to enjoy fruitful production seasons.

However, Italy will see a large drop of 24 per cent in production, down from 3.54m tonnes in 2007/08 to 2.68m tonnes. Elsewhere, Egypt's yield is expected to fall to 2.51m tonnes from 2.79m tonnes last season. Cyprus (down 20 per cent to 109,200 tonnes) will also see a reduction in its crop, while production in Greece is forecast to remain steady at 1.09m tonnes.

Freshfel's report also highlighted the key factors for successful development of the export campaign during 2008/09, including improved colouration and size, market demand and consumption trends in a difficult economic climate, and market access conditions to Russia.

Separately, Freshfel and SHAFFE (Southern Hemisphere Association of Fresh Fruit Exporters) released updated figures for exports of Southern Hemisphere citrus to the European Union, with exports this year totalling 1.16m tonnes – an increase of 8 per cent.