The U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA FAS) reported that European Union (EU) production of lemons and grapefruit will decline in 2022–23 compared to the prior season.
EU lemon production is forecast at almost 1.5 million metric tons (MMT), down 9.5% from 2021–22 due to estimated lower production in Spain, despite a rebound expected in Italy.
EU lemon planted area continued trending upward in 2022–23 to about 86,400 hectares, mainly due to strong expansion in Spain. About 25% of Spain’s lemon planted area is devoted to organic lemon production. This upward trend in organic lemon production in Spain is expected to continue.
Spain and Italy are the first and second largest EU lemon producers, accounting for approximately 65% and 30% of total EU lemon production, respectively. Spain is expected to produce about 857,000 MT of lemons. Italy’s lemon production is expected to increase to 500,000 MT. In Greece, lemon production is projected at approximately 87,000 MT.
The EU is a net importer of lemons. In 2021–22, EU lemon imports strongly increased to meet the domestic demand and a reduced crop. In 2022–23, EU imports of lemons are expected to decline to 560,000 MT. The leading lemon suppliers to the EU are South Africa, Argentina, Turkey and Brazil.
EU lemon exports in 2022–23 are projected at 140,000 MT, only slightly below previous season levels. In 2021–22, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway and Canada remained the main destination for EU lemons, which are shipped primarily from Spain.
EU grapefruit production in 2022–23 is forecast to decline 6.6% to 99,000 MT, largely due to a drought-driven 8.5% production decline reported in Spain. Spain is the EU’s leading grapefruit producer and accounts for nearly 75% of the bloc’s production, followed by Cyprus.
EU grapefruit planted area may continue to trend upward in 2022–23 to almost 4,000 hectares, mainly due to strong expansion in Spain.
The EU is a net importer of grapefruit to satisfy domestic demand. In 2022–23, EU imports of grapefruit are expected to decline to 215,000 MT despite the shorter domestic crop because demand is expected to decrease in response to increasing prices. Despite the suspension of additional EU tariffs since spring 2021, U.S. grapefruit exports to the EU further contracted in 2021–22 as Florida’s grapefruit production continues to shrink. The largest grapefruit suppliers to the EU are South Africa, Turkey, China, Israel, the United States and Mexico.
EU grapefruit exports are very small and expected to decline marginally in 2022–23 to 15,000 MT. Main destinations of EU grapefruit include the United Kingdom and Switzerland.
Source: USDA FAS
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