A preliminary forecast for the Southern Hemisphere citrus season shows an expected small production decrease but an increase in exports.
The first crop production and export forecast for the 2020 season was released by the World Citrus Organisation (WCO) on May 29. The preliminary forecast is collected from industry associations in Argentina, Australia, Chile, Peru, South Africa and Uruguay. The WCO is working with Brazil and Bolivia to include their data into the forecast soon.
The preliminary forecast shows that the 2020 Southern Hemisphere crop is expected to reach 8,387,341 tons, which represents a small decrease of 3 percent compared to the 2019 crop.
Exports are expected to increase by 12 percent to 3,486,883 tons, which could be explained by consumers’ higher demand for citrus fruit in COVID-19 times, the WCO stated. The higher demand would be due to the nutritional benefits associated with citrus and more home consumption, the organization added.
On the processing side, a total of 2,426,154 tons of citrus are expected to be destined to the juice market (pending the confirmation of Brazil’s data), which constitutes a decrease of 15 percent compared to 2019.
By citrus categories, the soft citrus and lemon and lime markets show stable figures, with similar production volumes compared to 2019. Oranges showed a 6 percent decrease, and grapefruit production increased by 3 percent compared to the previous year.
Expected export volumes show increases across all categories, with lemon and lime projected to have the greatest increase, up 32 percent compared to 2019.
The WCO announced that it is now fully operational with a complete agenda of activities for 2020. In July, a meeting of the membership will review the state of the industry and take stock of the latest consumer trends and producing countries’ experiences in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. In recent months, citrus has been highlighted as one of the most attractive fruit categories for consumers, given its health properties. Consequently, the issue of nutrition and promotion of citrus consumption will be discussed with members in the upcoming meeting.
Source: World Citrus Organisation
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