Mandarin Production in Korea

Josh McGillCrop Forecast, International

Reduced open-field Unshu mandarin harvest in the southern part of Jeju Island will drop total citrus production in Korea to 595,000 metric tons (MT) in 2022–23. This overall 2.9% reduction from last year is primarily due to a drier summer fruit-growing period and an alternating fruit-bearing cycle for Unshu production areas in the Seogwipo region. Those projections were made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA FAS).


The reported citrus production for Korea consists totally of tangerines and mandarins. The country has no domestic production of oranges, orange juice or grapefruit. Domestic lemon production is considerably limited with no official data to report.

Korea’s total citrus planted area is projected to decrease slightly to 19,930 hectares in 2022–23. Korea’s open-field planting area (73% of total planted area) continues to shrink due to an
aging farm population and increased property development around citrus farms. However, planted area for late-maturing tangerine varieties, produced mostly in greenhouses, is expected to increase steadily in the coming years. Trees produced in greenhouses generate two to three times more income than regular open-field production.

Korea’s late-maturing citrus planted area and production output are forecast to increase by 1% to 4,110 hectare and 94,000 MT, respectively. As consumer demand for high quality, late-
maturing citrus steadily increases, more growers will move away from regular Unshu mandarin production in open fields. They will choose to produce the higher priced, late-maturing citrus varieties.

The planted area for Hallabong (the major tangerine variety accounting for 37.7% of total late-maturing citrus in 2021) will decline gradually in the coming years. Conversely, planting of other varieties, such as Cheonhyehang and Redhayang, the second and the third most popular late-maturing citrus varieties,
is expected to increase steadily with increased consumer demand.

In 2022–23, the Jeju citrus industry projects around 70,000 MT of fresh tangerines will be used for processing, mostly for tangerine concentrate production. This is up about 5.6% (3,720 MT) from the previous year due to the increased volume of non-marketable (smaller size) tangerines. Korea exported 1,226 MT of tangerine concentrate in 2021–22, about 44% more than the previous year on recovering demand in Japan.

Three Jeju-based citrus processors (Jeju Development Corporation, Ilhae and Lotte Chilsung Beverage) process 70,000 to 80,000 MT of tangerines annually.

In 2022–23, Korea’s Unshu mandarin exports are forecast to decrease by 23% to around 5,000 MT, with lower exports to Russia. Traditionally, Russia is the top buyer for Korean tangerines. Those exports have fallen since February 2022 due to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and a resulting decline in commercial vessel traffic.

Conversely, fresh tangerine exports to the Canadian and U.S. markets are forecast to increase gradually due to improved supply-chain logistics. Korea exports around 1,000 MT of fresh tangerines annually to Canada and the United States.

See the full USDA FAS report on Korean citrus here.

Source: USDA FAS

Share this Post

Sponsored Content