According to the Citrus World Markets and Trade report released by the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, unfavorable weather conditions in the Northern Hemisphere have cast a shadow over citrus production. While the Southern Hemisphere has experienced some growth in citrus output, the overall global citrus production for the 2022/23 season is projected to decline by approximately 4.6%, equating to more than 4.8 million metric tons (mmt), with an estimated total of 100.6 mmt, down from 105.4 mmt in the 2021/22 season.
The 2022/23 global orange production is expected to drop by 5% to approximately 47.8 mmt. This decline is driven by reduced production in key regions, including the European Union, Turkey, and the United States. However, it's important to note that this drop in production is partially offset by a larger crop in Egypt. With both consumption and fruit designated for processing also down due to lower production and an increase in exports, the orange sector faces considerable challenges.
One bright spot in this scenario is Egypt, where orange production is set to rise by 600 thousand metric tons (mt), matching the country’s record of 3.6 mmt. This boost in production is attributed to an expansion in cultivation area and favorable weather conditions during the fruiting season. Consequently, an increase in export volume is anticipated, with primary export markets remaining in the European Union, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, Morocco's orange production is expected to decline by 367 thousand mt due to poor weather conditions and water shortages during the growing season. This reduction in production is also anticipated to lead to decreases in both consumption and exports, with a projected decline of around one-third.
The US, particularly Florida, is poised to face a challenging season with orange production estimated to drop by over a quarter to 2.3 mmt. This represents the lowest level in over 56 years. Various factors, including citrus greening causing fruit drop, reduced harvested areas, and high winds from hurricanes, contribute to this decline. Interestingly, California is projected to produce over twice as many oranges as Florida in the 2022/23 season. Consumption and exports are expected to remain stable, but oranges for processing will see a decline in line with Florida's reduced production.
Brazil, the world's top orange producer, is also not immune to the challenges. Production in Brazil is forecasted to fall by 179 thousand mt to 16.8 mmt, leading to lower volumes available for processing and a subsequent decrease in orange juice exports.
China, in contrast, anticipates a record orange output of 7.6 mmt, primarily due to increased acreage. However, despite this robust production, exports are expected to contract as domestic consumption rises. While in the EU, Spain and Italy are likely to experience lower orange production with output predicted to fall by 13% to 5.9 mmt due to an unusually hot and dry summer.
The mandarin sector is also grappling with adverse weather conditions and substantial production declines in China and Morocco. Global mandarin production for the 2022/23 season is estimated to decrease by 900 thousand mt to 36.9 mmt. China, despite a 2% reduction, remains the world's largest producer with a forecasted production of 26.5 mmt. The report suggests that as exports rise, domestic consumption in China will likely decline, with Indonesia and Vietnam remaining its largest export markets.
The EU, the second-largest producing region globally, is anticipated to witness a 4% reduction in total mandarin output, with estimates pegged at 3.035 mmt. This decrease is expected to lead to reductions in both exports and domestic consumption. Meanwhile, Morocco and South Africa are projected to remain the EU's primary suppliers. In Greece, increased production is unlikely to offset Spain's reduction caused by high summer temperatures. Turkey, which experienced less cold weather than initially forecasted, expects a slight production increase to 1.9 mmt, with exports remaining steady.
Morocco is expected to face a substantial 32% decrease in production due to high temperatures and water shortages that have reduced the harvesting area. This reduction is predicted to lead to a decrease in both domestic consumption and exports, with the EU, Russia, and the United States continuing to be the largest export markets.
In the US, favorable weather conditions in California are expected to lead to a 23% increase in mandarin production, totaling 819 thousand mt. An increase in exports is anticipated, while imports and domestic consumption are projected to decline.
Peru, however, is expected to see a 20 thousand mt reduction in production, with exports remaining flat due to a late season and a smaller harvest of early-maturing varieties. On the other hand, in Chile, the advent of new orchards and favorable rainfall is set to boost mandarin production by 27% to 215 thousand mt, with exports expected to rise by 25% to 180 thousand mt.
Lemon and Grapefruit
In the grapefruit sector, global production is set to face a 2% reduction of approximately 158 thousand mt for the current season, largely due to unfavorable weather conditions and decreased output in major grapefruit-producing countries such as China, Mexico, Turkey, and the US. Specifically, China, the world's largest grapefruit producer, is expected to see a decline of 50 thousand mt, while South Africa is projected to experience a reduction of 4 thousand mt.
In the lemon and lime category, global production is anticipated to plummet by 11% compared to the previous year, amounting to a total of 9.069 mmt. This decline is attributed to adverse weather conditions affecting lemon and lime production in key regions, including Argentina, the EU, Turkey, and the US.