Forecast: Europe’s Tangerine Crop to Decline

Ernie NeffCrop Forecast

The European Union (EU) tangerine crop forecast for 2019-20 shows a 14 percent decrease from the previous year, to 2.7 million metric tons (MMT), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) recently reported. The expected production is 13 percent lower than the nine-year average production of 3.1 MMT.

The FAS reported that the EU has reduced its tangerine planted area by 8 percent over the last nine years, to 155,953 hectares. Spain, which has the most tangerine acreage in the EU, saw a 10.5 percent reduction in acreage from 2011 to 2018, to 108,000 hectares.

Spain’s 2019-20 tangerine production is forecast to tumble to 1.8 MMT, down from approximately 2.4 MMT the previous year. Spain’s main tangerine-producing areas are the regions of Valencia, Andalusia and Catalonia. Spain continues to develop new early and late seedless varieties to extend fruit availability throughout the year.

Italy, the EU’s second-largest tangerine producer, is forecast to have significantly increased production this year at 695,000 metric tons. Italy produced 577,000 metric tons last season. Its main tangerine-producing areas are Calabria, accounting for 53 percent of production; Sicily, accounting for 20 percent; and Apulia, 15 percent.

Tangerine production in Greece and Portugal is expected to remain flat compared to the previous year at 175,000 metric tons and 40,000 metric tons, respectively.

EU tangerines are mainly consumed fresh. Spain is the major consumer of tangerines in the EU for both fresh consumption and processing.

The EU is a net importer of tangerines. Morocco and South Africa continue to be the leading suppliers to the EU market, followed by Israel, Peru and Turkey. In 2018-19, the volume of imports from the United States decreased 22 percent and was valued at $6 million. EU imports are expected to grow in 2019-20 as a result of the expected reduction in EU production.

During 2018-19, EU exports of tangerines rose 13.5 percent to 246,410 metric tons and were valued at $221 million. EU’s main export market destinations are Ukraine, Switzerland, Belarus, Norway and Canada. In 2018-19, EU exports to the United States, mainly from Spain, decreased 39 percent to 9,283 metric tons with a value of $8 million, continuing a downward trend. In the last decade, Spain’s tangerine exports to the U.S. dropped 85 percent due to increasing competition from South America, Morocco and South Africa.

See the full FAS report on EU citrus here.

The Florida Department of Citrus in May projected that sales of fresh Florida citrus, including tangerines, would increase in 2019-20. See that report here.            

Source: USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

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