China: Grapefruit Gains, Pomelos Stable

Ernie NeffChina

Pomelo (Photo by Roxana Bashyrova/Shutterstock Images)

Total grapefruit and pomelo production in China in 2020-21 is forecast at 4.95 million metric tons, a negligible increase from the previous year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) reported.

The slight increase is mainly driven by production of grapefruit hybrids in Guangxi and Yunnan. “Though limited, this change is worth reporting as it reflects the beginning of grapefruit production,” FAS stated. “Previous reports have traditionally only reflected pomelo production as it dominated the market; however, as grapefruit begins to gain recognition, some farmers are planting new hybrid varieties or developing new varieties to plant to be at the beginning of this trend.”

FAS reported that overall pomelo production will remain stable “as the area planted is stagnant. Production area growth is attributed to new areas being planted for grapefruit production.”

Overall consumption for pomelo and grapefruit in 2020-21 is forecast at 4.8 million metric tons, up slightly from the previous year.

With the increasing demand for grapefruit, FAS expects prices for branded premium grapefruit will be higher than the ordinary grapefruit. “This follows trends with other branded citrus, and fruit generally,” FAS stated.

Grapefruit imports into China for 2020-21 are forecast at 78,000 metric tons, up 3 percent from the estimate for the previous year. South Africa is the largest supplier of grapefruit to China, accounting for 67 percent of the market share. Other main suppliers for pomelo and grapefruit include Thailand, Israel, Egypt, Australia and Taiwan.

China’s export forecast for 2020-21 is 220,000 tons, up slightly from 2019-20. In 2019-20, China exported about 209,000 tons of pomelo, down 15 percent from 2018-19. There were sharp drops in 2019-20 of shipments to Russia, Hong Kong and Poland, largely a result of COVID-19. Other key pomelo export destinations are the Netherlands and Russia, with other exports destined for Ukraine, Romania, Canada, Lithuania, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom.  

Read the full FAS report on citrus in China here.

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

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