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[Press Release] WCO Publishes Annual Southern Hemisphere Citrus Production Forecast

May 21, 2021

This content has been modified from its original version. It has been edited for content and style, as well as to follow Produce Report editorial guidelines and for necessary website formatting.

On May 12, the World Citrus Organisation celebrated its first annual general meeting online, following the official creation of the association last year. During the AGM, the WCO Secretariat presented the consolidated production and export forecast for the upcoming 2021 Southern Hemisphere citrus season. The data for this preliminary forecast were collected from the WCO’s members, namely, industry associations in Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru, South Africa and Uruguay.

The AGM concluded the first year of the WCO’s activities. The co-chairs of the association, Jose Antonio Garcia (Ailimpo) and Justin Chadwick (Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa), were quoted as stating, “The full first year of operation allowed the organisation to quickly build a representative association and provide benefits and value to the members.”

According to the preliminary forecast presented during the meeting, this year’s Southern Hemisphere citrus crop should reach 22.8 million tons, which represents a year-on-year increase of 3.18% compared to 2020. Meanwhile, exports are expected to increase by 12.72% to 3.9 million tons. Philippe Binard, secretary general of the WCO, stated while presenting the data, “Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a positive trend of consumers’ demand for fruit and vegetables was noted, in particular for citrus fruit, widely recognized for its high nutritional value, notably in terms of vitamin C content. The large volume available is positive news as it will meet the increased demand.”

On the processing side, a total of 13.5 million tons of citrus are expected to supply the juice market, which constitutes a slight increase of 1.26% compared to 2020. However, it is worth noting that the data for Brazil used in the forecast remain preliminary, with the official Brazilian data expected to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

In terms of citrus categories, soft citrus is expected to show the largest year-on-year increase in production (+10.57%), with a significant increase in export volumes (+20.38%) to 1 million tons. Orange production is projected to remain broadly stable (+1.93%), while lemon (+2.37%) and grapefruit (+6.44%) production is forecast to increase. Export volumes are also expected to increase across the board for oranges (+11.55%), lemons (+7.20%) and grapefruit (+9.56%). According to Eric Imbert (French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), Technical Secretariat of WCO), “The Southern Hemisphere citrus export continues to grow in particular for lemons and easy peelers. The Southern Hemisphere today represents 27% of the global citrus market.” During the AGM, members also reviewed the past season’s results with a focus on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and analyzed the forecast for the current season.

In addition, during the meeting, Natalia Santos, the WCO’s deputy secretary general, announced that “Members decided to set up a formal working group on health and nutrition. This will enable better knowledge exchange among members on citrus nutritional assets and will also contribute towards a better understanding of the health attributes of citrus. The first meeting of the WCO’s Health and Nutrition focus group will take place in the second semester of 2021.”

Southern Hemisphere citrus forecast 2021*
 SOFT CITRUS %2021/2020 2021 2020
 Total production (tons) 10.57% 3,013,723 2,725,596
   Destined for export 20.38% 1,005,045 834,894
   Destined for processing 15.44% 186,456 161,511
   Destined for domestic market 19.61% 872,222 729,191
 ORANGES %2021/2020 2021 2020
 Total production (tons) 1.93% 14,995,730 14,712,363
   Destined for export 11.55% 1,723,403 1,544,894
   Destined for processing 0.03% 11,759,543 11,756,132
   Destined for domestic market 3.79% 1,464,784 1,411,337
 LEMONS %2021/2020 2021 2020
 Total production (tons) 2.37% 4,199,575 4,102,325
   Destined for export 7.20% 852,537 795,241
   Destined for processing −3.34% 1,306,571 1,351,739
   Destined for domestic market 15.33% 640,467 555,346
 GRAPEFRUIT %2021/2020 2021 2020
 Total production (tons) 6.44% 546,639 513,578
   Destined for export 9.56% 284,719 259,883
   Destined for processing 2.10% 202,255 198,096
   Destined for domestic market 8.85% 59,865 54,999
 ALL CITRUS %2021/2020 2021 2020
 Total production (tons) 3.18% 22,755,668 22,053,863
   Destined for export 12.72% 3,865,705 3,429,344
   Destined for processing 1.26% 13,454,826 13,287,479
   Destined for domestic market −39.71% 3,037,337 5,037,985

* Based on data from Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru, South Africa and Uruguay.

Image: Pixabay

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