Slight Changes in European Citrus Production

Daniel CooperCrop Forecast, International

Photo by Alena Darmel

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA FAS) projected a slight decrease in European orange production in 2023–24 and a slight increase in orange juice (OJ) and grapefruit production.


The USDA FAS semi-annual report projects 2023–24 EU orange production at 5.475 million metric tons (MMT), down from the already short prior-year crop of 5.58 MMT. Orange production is the largest citrus category within the EU, and Spain accounts for 50% of production.

Excessive rains during fruit setting, drought and warm conditions, along with irrigation restrictions hampered yields and negatively affected fruit sizes. Better output in Italy did not suffice to compensate for the productivity losses in Spain and, to a lesser extent, in Greece and Portugal.

Imports of oranges in 2023–24 are expected to increase slightly to 1.09 MMT to offset the drop in domestic production. Main import origins include Egypt, overlapping with the EU’s crop season, and South Africa and Zimbabwe during the off-season.

EU orange exports in 2023–24 are projected to decrease to 300,000 metric tons (MT) from 343,000 MT the prior year. Main destinations for EU oranges, primarily exported out of Spain, include the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Serbia, Norway and Canada.


The larger share of oranges that don’t meet size standards for fresh consumption and the somewhat higher volume of oranges imported are projected to push domestic OJ production up to 49.6 MT in 2023–24. Prior-year production was 48.4 MT.

The EU OJ-import forecast for 2023–24 is revised up to 528,000 MT from 525,090 MT the prior year. Orange juice import volumes from Egypt, the EU’s second largest supplier after Brazil, registered the largest increase in volume.

OJ exports for 2023–24 are now projected at 116,000 MT, up from 110,798 MT the prior year. The United Kingdom is by far the largest destination of EU OJ.


EU grapefruit production in 2023–24 is forecast at 108,000 MT compared to 98,000 MT the prior year. The production rebound is entirely driven by Spain, the EU’s largest grapefruit-producing state. Spain hit a grapefruit production record in 2023–24.

Grapefruit imports are expected to rise to 210,000 MT from 209,000 MT the prior year. This is mostly driven by increased imports originating in China, Türkiye, South Africa and Israel.

EU grapefruit exports in 2023–24 are projected to stay at the same level as the prior year (20,000 MT). EU grapefruit exports are only minor and fairly concentrated to EU neighboring countries such as the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Ukraine, Russia, Norway and Serbia.

See the full USDA FAS semi-annual report on European citrus here.

Source: USDA FAS

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