European Lemon Crop Down; Grapefruit Up

Josh McGill Grapefruit, International, lemons

The European Union (EU) lemon crop for 2021–22 is expected to decline from the previous season while its grapefruit crop is projected to rise.


EU lemon production is forecast at 1.5 million metric tons (MMT), down from the 1.7 MMT estimated for the previous season. Spain is the EU’s largest lemon producer and accounts for nearly 65% of EU production.

Unfavorable weather conditions that affected flowering and fruit set in some production areas of Spain, combined with hailstorms in November, drove the country’s lemon production down.

In Italy, the EU’s second larger producer of lemons, floods hit Sicily at the end of October, causing damage to lemon groves.

Greece’s lemon production is expected to remain flat in 2021–22.

EU fresh lemon consumption and lemons for processing are forecast to decrease, driven by the decline in EU lemon production and price hikes for consumers.

Imports of lemons in 2021–22 are expected to rise to make up for the drop in EU lemon production. South Africa, Turkey, Argentina and Brazil are the leading suppliers to the EU market, followed by Mexico.

EU exports are projected to decline given the shorter crop and the increased competition by other producers like Turkey.

EU grapefruit production is forecast to expand to 107,000 metric tons (MT) in 2021–22, largely driven by a planted area increase reported in Spain, the EU’s largest grapefruit producer. EU production in the prior year was 105,000 MT. 

EU grapefruit consumption in 2021–22 has been revised down to 351,000 MT, driven by the consumer price index hike affecting consumers’ purchasing power. Grapefruit in the EU are mainly consumed fresh.

In 2021–22, EU imports of grapefruit are expected to contract to 285,000 MT. China, South Africa, Turkey, Israel and the United States are leading suppliers to the EU market.

Since spring 2021, the suspension of the additional EU tariffs on U.S. grapefruit exports has opened opportunities for U.S. grapefruit exporters to resume their sales to the EU.

EU grapefruit exports are limited and expected to decline marginally in 2021–22.

See the full semi-annual report on European citrus from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service here.

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