Shipments fell by more than 40 per cent between January and October of 2023

Peru exported 119,099 tonnes of mandarins worth US$137m between January and October of 2023. This represents a fall of 44 per cent in volume and 40 per cent in value compared to the year-earlier period, according to data from Fresh Fruit Peru.

Peruvian mandarins

The 2023 campaign was marred by high temperatures during the first half of the year caused by El Niño, which affected the colour and quality of the fruit.

Shipments to the US, Peru’s biggest market, fell even more sharply, registering a 60 per cent drop in volume and 58 per cent fall in value to finish the season on 53,413 tonnes worth US$64m.

The UK, which was Peru’s second biggest market in 2022, moved down to third place, with a total of 11,051 tonnes for US$12m. This represents a fall of 36 per cent in volume and 26 per cent in value compared to last year.

By contrast Europe saw a big increase in shipments. To October it had imported 17,648 tonnes of mandarins worth US$21m, an increase of 20 per cent in volume and 51 per cent in value, pushing it up into second place.

This is the second year in which Peruvian citrus exports have contracted. After years of spectacular growth, export volumes fell for the first time in more than a decade in 2022.

According to Sergio del Castillo, president of citrus association ProCitrus, the introduction of new farm laws at the end of 2020 limiting tax incentives has stalled investment in new plantings. This, combined with the negative impact of El Niño, is stymying export growth.

Del Castillo noted that increases in production, post-harvest and export costs have put a serious dent in the profitability of the sector in the past two years and made it harder for Peru to maintain its competitiveness on the world stage.