European Orange Crop to Decline

Josh McGillFresh, International, Production

European Union (EU) orange production is projected at 6.1 million metric tons (MMT), down from 6.5 MMT in 2020–21, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) reported recently.


The decrease is driven by moderate production declines in Spain and Italy, which combined account for nearly 80% of total EU orange output.


The forecast for total EU orange planted area in 2021–22 is 255,252 hectares, 2% below the previous season’s area. After several consecutive years of poor economic performance, citrus farmers across the EU are shifting from orange production to more profitable permanent crops such as avocados or persimmons.


In 2021–22, fresh orange consumption is expected to decline compared to the previous season, as the shorter EU crop and higher consumer prices discourage consumption. While EU consumers’ interest in vitamin C-rich citrus fruits in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic fades away, the recovery in tourism activity within the EU may temper demand.

Oranges are mainly consumed fresh in the EU. Approximately 80% of EU orange supply is destined for fresh consumption with the remainder destined for processing. Given the shorter crop, the processing share in 2021–22 is expected to be approximately 13%.


Although oranges represent the largest citrus category produced in the EU, the bloc has a significant trade deficit. EU imports of oranges are anticipated to decline from 858 metric tons (MT) in 2020–21 to 840 MT in 2021–22, despite the significant reduction in EU orange production. South Africa, especially during the EU off-season, and Egypt are the EU’s leading suppliers of oranges. Other important suppliers include Morocco, Zimbabwe and Argentina.

Primary orange export markets for the EU include the United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland, Norway, the Middle East and Brazil. EU orange exports are expected to total 400 MT in 2021–22.

See the full semi-annual report on EU citrus here.

Source: United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service.