Sergio del Castillo and Badr Bennis replace outgoing chairs Justin Chadwick and José Antonio García

WCO new co-chars

Badr Bennis, left, and Sergio del Castillo

Southern Hemisphere citrus exports are forecast to grow in 2024 while production will be similar to last year. Presenting the figures at its AGM on Thursday, the World Citrus Organisation forecast an export crop of 4.147m tonnes, an increase of 7.45 per cent on 2023. Production is estimated at 24.338m tonnes, down 0.77 per cent on last year.

“The Southern Hemisphere season has been negatively impacted by difficult climatic conditions, as drought-like conditions negatively affected production. However, expectations have improved recently, leading to only a slight decrease in production,” WCO said.

Orange output is expected to be down 5.66 per cent on to 2023 at 15.478m tonnes, while soft citrus volumes are set to grow 11.58 per cent to 3.326m tonnes. Lemon output is project to rise by 5.69 per cent to 3.245m tonnes, and grapefruit production should decline by 3.89 per cent to 532,539 tonnes. Limes are forecasted to reach 1.757m tonnes, 10.57 per cent up on last year.

During the meeting, the WCO elected its new co-chairs: Sergio del Castillo of ProCitrus in Peru and Badr Bennis of Morocco’s Les Domaines Agricoles. Outgoing chairs Justin Chadwick and José Antonio García said the organisation had become a notable forum for citrus sector actors to exchange perspectives and data on matters of common concern, quadrupling its membership under their tenure.

In the last five years, the WCO has launched new instruments such as common data reporting formats and interactive databases for members with the latest production and trade forecast data, and dedicated working groups to explore ways to boost the marketing and the promotion of all citrus categories. It has also hosted physical and online events allowing the sector to discuss and interact, share knowledge and help promote the visibility of the sector.

The Southern Hemisphere forecasts are based on data from Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru, South Africa, and Uruguay, contrasted and complemented with external data from USDA and Faostat.