The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) recently forecast lower orange production for the European Union (EU) this year and provided an overview of the EU industry.
EU production is forecast at 6.19 million metric tons (MMT) in 2019-20, almost 9 percent lower than the previous year. Spain, the EU’s primary orange producer, is forecast to have a production decline of 15.2 percent, to 3.3 MMT. The reduction in Spanish production is due to unfavorable conditions in the main production regions of Valencia and Andalusia. Those regions were affected by heavy rains in the fall of 2019 and high temperatures before the summer of 2019.
The amount of land in Spain planted in oranges has dropped 9 percent in the past decade, to 139,132 hectares, but is still the highest planting within the EU. Citrus farmers left orange production for more profitable products such as persimmons and avocados.
Italy is the second largest EU producer; Sicily and Calabria are the main orange-producing regions with 63 and 19 percent of total Italian production, respectively.
Oranges are primarily eaten fresh in the EU. Consumption is expected to increase by 5 percent in 2019-20. During the COVID-19 pandemic, EU consumers sought citrus fruits for their health benefits and as good natural sources of vitamin C. The pandemic improved the position of citrus products among EU consumers. In the United States, orange juice consumption increased during the pandemic; read more here.
EU oranges destined for processing account for approximately 18 percent of EU production. Spain is the major orange processor in the EU, and about 20 percent of Spanish oranges are processed. Spain has more than 30 citrus processors for both domestic and international markets.
The EU is a net importer of oranges. South Africa and Egypt continue to be the leading suppliers of oranges to the EU market, shipping primarily to the Netherlands and Portugal. Other important EU suppliers are Morocco and Argentina.
See the full FAS report on EU citrus here.
Source: USDA Foreign Agricultural Service
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