Ricardo Martinez Zambrano, director of sales for North America with Citrofrut, summarizes a Mexican citrus industry report he delivered at the recent International Citrus Business Conference.
Zambrano says oranges account for about 56 percent of Mexico’s total citrus production, but “there is no official source in Mexico that does the estimation.”
An area of eastern Mexico has about 80 percent of all Mexican citrus production “with the exception of the Mexican key limes” which grow mostly on the west coast, Zambrano says.
“Processing versus fresh (for the orange crop) is very dependent on a year-to-year basis,” he says. “It has to do with the crop size and with the futures prices and opportunity for processors to access that fruit.” He says 55 to 60 percent of the orange crop was processed on average in the past five years.
“A lot of our growers are very small growers, and they don’t tend to the land as a professional grower would,” Zambrano says. “That has a benefit of actually making the grove organic in its natural sense. However, we have to certify that that’s actually the case. And being able to certify hundreds of growers that have small plots gets complicated.”
“Italian lemon is grown mostly in the northeast,” Zambrano says. “Production is around 120,000 tons of fruit if we have the correct conditions.” However, drought and a hurricane last year and a freeze early this year cut production. “So, best estimates for this year range anywhere between 70,000 and 100,000 tons.”
“Conditions have been great for the Persian lime,” Zambrano adds. “We’re seeing a lot of new developments. So we expect a consistent growth in the next few years for this crop.” He anticipates the limes will be 50 percent fresh and 50 percent processed.
“We’re very excited about the potential that we currently have,” Zambrano concludes.
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