Increased yields from new plantations will only partially offset the production losses caused by severe weather conditions
Spain is forecasting a 10 per cent decrease in lemon and grapefruit production in 2022/23 according to the latest estimate from Ailimpo.
The interprofessional has pegged the forthcoming lemon crop at 1.09m tonnes, while the grapefruit harvest is expected to weigh in at 76,000 tonnes.
The shortfall is due to adverse weather conditions in 2022, with significant rainfall events in March and April affecting flowering and fruit set in many production areas.
Moreover, the unusually hot, dry summer resulted in delayed fruit development with smaller fruit sizes up to the present date.
Planted area has expanded significantly in the decade, with newer plantations seeing increased yields each year. However this has not been enough to compensate for the losses caused by this year’s severe climatic conditions, Ailimpo said.
The forecast is somewhat better than initially anticipated, partly due to higher production and larger sizes in the Verna lemon crop, and partly because of the higher-than-expected harvest of “rodrejo” lemons this summer.
The decrease will be particularly notable in the Verna variety, which is down 22 per cent on 2021/22. In the case of Fino variety, a 5 per cent drop in production is expected. But Ailimpo said the rate of harvesting and size development would determine the final crop estimate.
Based on these projections, Spain will continue to be the world’s leading exporter of fresh lemons in 2022/23, and the second largest processor of lemons in juice, essential oil and dehydrated peel worldwide.