EU Lemon, Grapefruit Production Increases

Ernie Neff Grapefruit, International, lemons


The European Union (EU) expects production increases for lemon and grapefruit in 2020-21 compared to the previous season, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service reported.

Lemon production is forecast to increase by almost 11.7% to 1.64 million metric tons. Spain will have the lion’s share of production at 1.06 million metric tons, followed by Italy at 491,000 metric tons. Greece is expected to produce 83,000 metric tons, Portugal 13,000 metric tons and Cyprus 6,000 metric tons. Following Mexico and Argentina, Spain is the third largest lemon producer in the world, but it is the largest exporter of lemons for fresh consumption.

European lemons are primarily consumed fresh, and the EU is a net importer of lemons. In 2019-20, imports of lemons increased 5.5% to 579,031 metric tons. South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Turkey are the leading suppliers to Europe, followed by Mexico.

In 2019-20, the volume of EU lemon exports stayed flat compared to the previous year at 81,523 metric tons with a value of $123 million. The EU lemons were shipped primarily from Spain, and the main destinations were Switzerland, Serbia, Canada and Norway. During last season, European lemon exports to the United States declined 86% to 1,001 metric tons. U.S. tariffs related to the World Trade Organization case against EU aircraft subsidies impacted Spanish exports to the United States.

European grapefruit production is forecast to grow 8% to 103,000 metric tons. Spain produces the majority of EU grapefruit. Ruby Red is the main grapefruit variety planted in Spain. Cyprus is the second largest grapefruit producer; white Marsh seedless is its leading variety.  

EU grapefruit are mainly consumed fresh with consumption significantly surpassing grapefruit production. The EU is a net importer of grapefruit to satisfy the domestic demand. China, South Africa, Turkey, Israel and the United States are the leading suppliers to the market. Imports from the United States have dropped recently as U.S. grapefruit competed with lower prices from other suppliers. Additional EU tariffs imposed in November 2020, but currently suspended, would have further discouraged imports of U.S. grapefruit.

See the full report on EU citrus production.

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

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