Mexico’s Citrus Crops Expected to Slide

Josh McGillCrop Forecast, Mexico

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA FAS) has forecast Mexico’s crops of lemons, limes and grapefruit will be lower in 2022–23 than in the prior year.

Photo by Tara Winstead

The lemon/lime production forecast for 2022–23 is 2.8 million metric tons (MMT), 7% lower than the previous year.

Lemons and limes are the second largest category of citrus produced in Mexico, behind oranges. Nationally, lemons and limes account for 36% of total citrus production.

Principal producing states are Michoacán, Veracruz, Oaxaca and Tamaulipas. Veracruz and Michoacán are the largest producers, each with 27% percent of production. The Mexican area planted in lemons and limes in 2022–23 is 217,000 hectares.

Mexico’s lime production consists of three main varieties: Persian lime; Mexican or sour lime, also known as Key lime; and Italian lime.

Mexico’s 2022–23 exports of lemons/limes are forecast at 600,000 metric tons (MT). In 2021–2022, exports were estimated at 678,000 MT. The U.S. market takes more than 97% of total exports. The great majority of lime exports to the United States are the Persian and Italian varieties. In 2021, more than 80% of U.S. lime imports were from Mexico. 

Mexico’s grapefruit production forecast for 2022–23 is 420,000 MT, down from 453,000 MT the prior year.

Grapefruit planted area for 2022–23 is 21,500 hectares, a small increase from the prior year.

Fresh grapefruit exports for 2022–23 are forecast at 20,000 MT, up from 17,000 MT the prior year. In 2021–22, more than 52% of Mexico’s total grapefruit exports went to the United States, followed by Japan with 23%, Netherlands with 16% and Canada with 5%.

Over the past five years, Mexico has imported fresh grapefruit only from the United States.

Along with the lower production of lemons, limes and grapefruit, Mexico’s orange crop is also expected to decline.

See the full USDA FAS report on Mexican citrus here.

Source: USDA FAS

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