Spain, Morocco, Italy, Turkey and Tunisia all set for shorter crops as hot, dry summer impacts production

Northern Hemisphere citrus production is set to fall by 13 per cent to 25,958,275 tonnes in 2022/23 according to the World Citrus Organisation (WCO). The preliminary forecast, which was presented during the third edition of the Global Citrus Congress on 30 November, is based on data from Egypt, Greece, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, and the US.

Valencia oranges on tree

Philippe Binard, WCO secretary general, commented: “The market insights we received from the major citrus-producing countries in the Northern Hemisphere suggest that the 2022/23 citrus crop is projected to drop to 25,958,275 tonnes. This represents a marked 13 per cent decrease compared to the previous season”.

Eric Imbert of CIRAD and WCO Technical Secretariat added, “This year’s crop is one of the smallest of the last seasons, mainly due to climatic issues in leading export countries.

“But despite the decrease in Northern Hemisphere production, the citrus market continues to remain buoyant. Citrus is still one of the leading fruits on the global market”.

Orange production is projected to decrease by 11.79 per cent to a total of 13,995,754 tonnes. A similar decrease is also expected for the other citrus categories, namely grapefruit (down 16.88 per cent to 769,043 tonnes), soft citrus (down 13.32 per cent to 7,176,116 tonnes), and lemons (down 15.70 per cent to 4,017,362 tonnes).

In the European Union, production is forecasted to be down 15.09 per cent and a 20.97 per cent respectively in Spain and Italy, while WCO estimates a 10.83 per cent increase for Greece.

In the Southern rim of the Mediterranean, production is also expected to decrease, by 33 per cent in Morocco, 27.24 per cent in Turkey and 17.12 per cent in Tunisia. Volumes are forecast to remain stable in Israel (+0.40 per cent) and increase in Egypt (+8.24 per cent). The citrus crop in the US, according to USDA estimates, is expected to decrease by 5.16 per cent compared to last season.

WCO’s citrus forecasting activities take place on a biannual basis ahead of the Northern and Southern Hemisphere seasons. All forecasting is undertaken on a pre-competitive basis, supported by proactive member engagement in citrus data collection.

Both forecasts are available to all WCO members as part of their WCO membership to facilitate global understanding of current citrus market developments. From this knowledge-sharing exercise, the sector is able to better position the citrus category on domestic markets and further afield.