Mexico OJ Exports Increasing

Ernie NeffMexico, Orange Juice

Mexico is the second leading exporter of orange juice (OJ), following only Brazil, Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) economist Marisa Zansler reported recently. She said Mexico’s OJ exports increased incrementally in recent seasons in response to the decline in world OJ supplies. Excerpts from Zansler’s FDOC document, Florida Citrus Outlook 2021-22 Season, follow.

Although a net exporter of orange juice, orange production in Mexico is primarily intended for consumption in the fresh, domestic market. However, favorable prices and supply shortages in the United States over the last decade continue to displace fresh production in favor of the processed export market. Between 80% and 83% of Mexican exports are destined for the U.S. market.

The packout rate for fresh oranges declines marginally each season, with supplies diverted to processed utilization. With processing occurring from October through April, the orange processing period in Mexico overlaps Florida’s. While most of the processed utilization goes into frozen concentrated orange juice, with Mexico producing mainly Valencia varieties for processing, not-from-concentrate production has increased incrementally each season.

Over the last four seasons, production has been inconsistent due to inclement weather and other unknown factors. Mexico experienced a favorable crop during the 2018-19 season due to good weather and yields. Total supply for oranges during the 2018-19 season was 4.53 million metric tons (equivalent to approximately 111 million 90-pound boxes). Total supply for oranges in 2019-20, however, declined by more than half due to excessive heat and reduced yields. As such, production in Mexico was estimated at 2.5 million metric tons (equivalent to approximately 62-63 million 90-pound boxes).

Processed utilization from the 2019-20 season was estimated at about 22 million boxes, down from an estimated 54 million boxes the previous season. Production in the 2020-21 season is currently estimated to be 4 million metric tons (equivalent to approximately 98 million 90-pound boxes). However, it is important to note that the final projections may change to reflect current conditions since the February 2021 freezes.

Average juice yield for Mexico production averages between 5.6 and 5.7 single-strength equivalent gallons per box each season.

Source: Florida Department of Citrus

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