Larger European Orange Crop Expected

Ernie NeffCrop Forecast, International

The European Union’s (EU) orange production is forecast at 6.55 million metric tons (MMT) for 2020-21, up 5.6 percent from the previous year and 3 percent higher than the 10-year average. That’s according to a recent EU citrus report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

The higher forecast is mainly due to expected increases in orange production in Spain and Italy, which represent 80 percent of the EU’s total orange production. The remaining 20 percent of production is distributed among other EU nations, such as Greece and Portugal. The EU area planted in oranges is expected to grow slightly, up 0.8 percent to 281,226 hectares, mainly due to an estimated rise in Italy.

Spain is the primary orange producer in the EU; its 2020-21 production is expected to recover from an extremely short previous season, growing 5.2 percent to 3.4 MMT. The growth in Spanish orange production is due to favorable conditions in Spain’s main production regions of Valencia and Andalusia.

Over the last decade, Spain has reduced its planted orange production area by 8.4 percent, to 140,300 hectares, but still has the most planted orange area in the EU. After several consecutive years of economic slowdown, some Spanish citrus farmers left orange production for more profitable products such as persimmons and avocados.

Italy is the second largest European orange producer. Sicily and Calabria are its main orange-producing regions, accounting for approximately 63 and 19 percent of total production, respectively. Italy’s 2020-21 orange production is forecast to increase 12 percent from the previous season, to 1.85 MMT, mainly due to new orchards entering into production.

Greece and Portugal are Europe’s third and fourth largest orange producers. Greece’s 2020-21 production is expected to increase slightly by 1.1 percent compared to the previous year, to 920,000 metric tons. Portuguese production is expected to decline slightly to 317,000 metric tons.

Oranges in the EU are primarily consumed fresh. EU oranges destined for processing constitute only about 18 percent of total production.

The EU is a net importer of oranges; leading suppliers to the EU market are South Africa and Egypt.

See the full FAS report on European citrus here.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service

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