European Union Citrus Report on Production, War Impact

Josh McGillCrop Forecast, International

A new report on European Union (EU) citrus by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA FAS) includes a broad overview of the continent’s industry. Production expectations, the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, acreage and trade are addressed in the report.

European Citrus

Total European Union (EU) citrus production in 2022–23 is projected to total 10.4 million metric tons, 10% below the previous marketing year. Spain and Italy are the leading EU citrus producers, followed by Greece, Portugal and Cyprus.

The EU production reduction is expected to occur mainly in Spain, which accounts for 65% of all EU citrus production. Spain’s production is expected to be almost 18% lower than the prior year and at its lowest production level since the last decade. The decrease in Spain is due to a combination of 2022 spring rains that negatively affected flowering and fruit setting and an unusually warm summer and continued drought experienced up to May 2023.

Reductions in production are also projected in Italy, mainly in oranges, and in Portugal. Conversely, Greece expects a rebound in 2022–23 compared to last season.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 triggered an increase in input costs, including for fuel and electricity. It also compromised fertilizer availability and increased its price. The sales value of citrus did not increase along with the price hike in agricultural inputs, leading to profitability losses for citrus producers.

Higher agricultural input costs, lack of economic productivity and an agricultural labor deficit remain concerns for citrus producers across the EU.

Citrus acreage in the EU is expected to increase in line with previous estimations, as more profitable tree plantations continue to replace arable crops. Lemon and grapefruit areas are expected to experience the largestincrease in 2022–23. EU orange plantings are also expected to grow moderately, whereas mandarin acreage is anticipated to slightly decline.

Citrus area expansion is concentrated in Spain. Citrus acreage in Italy, Portugal and Greece remains more stable.

The EU is a net importer of citrus. The main citrus suppliers to the EU are South Africa, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Argentina and Brazil. Those countries primarily ship citrus to northern and eastern EU countries.

Main destinations for citrus exports from the EU are the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway and Canada.

See the full USDA FAS report on the European Union.

Source: USDA FAS

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