Moroccan citrus

Moroccan citrus production for 2012/13 is expected to conclude 20 per cent down compared with the previous year, at 1.49m tonnes, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.

The drop has been attributed to unfavourable climatic conditions, including severe heat waves in May and July 2012, which were responsible for significant losses.

Orange production totalled 784,000 tonnes, while small citrus reached 662,400 tonnes and other citrus 47,500 tonnes.

However, better results are anticipated for the 2013/14 campaign, thanks to more abundant rainfall between September 2012 and April 2013, which stood at around 28 per cent higher than the average.

Production of small citrus varieties Nova and Nadorcott is expected to rise by 11 and 53 per cent respectively as new orchards come on line.

These are higher quality varieties that are harvested later in the season and therefore prolong the campaign into February.

Fresh citrus exports stood at 356,776 tonnes between October 2012 and mid-April 2013, a decline of 18 per cent compared with the previous year, with around 70 percent consisting of Clementine, Maroc Late and Nour varieties.

Russia remained the top destination, receiving 227,679 tonnes, including 188,134 tonnes of small citrus varieties, and is likely to maintain its position thanks to the 2011 opening of a shipping line between Agadir and St Petersburg.

The launch of a new shipping line in early 2012 between the ports of Tanger and Jebel Ali in Dubai is expected to increase the competitive position of Moroccan citrus in the Gulf in the future.