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Record orange juice prices are expected to escalate orange juice production as growers increase deliveries for processing. Growers are diverting oranges from the export market and local sales towards processing on favorable prices. Good rainfall in the Spring of 2023 ensured sufficient rain for irrigation across all citrus producing regions. Production of all citrus types is expected to improve in both volumes and quality in MY 2023/24. However, the Northern production regions experienced some dry conditions during the growth period which led to smaller sized fruit, reducing the percentage of fruit that meets export specifications. Orange, grapefruit, and lemon exports for MY 2023/24 are revised downwards on smaller fruit size and diversion to local processing

Please download the full citrus crop production forecast: www.nass.usda.gov

On 18 April 2024, WCO members gathered for its fifth Annual General Meeting (AGM). During the AGM, WCO presented the consolidated data of the production and export forecasts for the forthcoming Southern Hemisphere citrus season 2024. The preliminary forecast was collected thanks to WCO members in Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru, South Africa, and Uruguay. In addition, the Association also marked its first change in leadership with the election of a new Steering Committee that will guide its work in the upcoming two years.

During WCO’s AGM, the preliminary forecast for the upcoming Southern Hemisphere citrus season was presented to representatives from the citrus sector in Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru, South Africa, and Uruguay, citrus production is expected to decrease by 0.77 % compared to the previous year, with an estimated production of 24,338,123 tonnes. Exports, however, are expected to continue increasing, with a projected growth of 7.45 % compared to 2023 to reach 4,156,879 tonnes.

Orange production is forecasted to decrease by 5.66% compared to 2023, with 15,478,167 T in total. Soft citrus production is expected to increase significantly (+ 11.58 %, 3,325,829 T in total). A 5.69 % increase is projected for lemon production (3,244,857 tonnes in total), while grapefruit production should decline by 3.89 % (to 532.539 tonnes in total). Limes are forecasted to reach 1,756,731 T, which is 10.57 % above the 2023 figure.

The Southern Hemisphere season has been negatively impacted by difficult climatic conditions, as drought-like conditions in the Southern Hemisphere negatively affected production. However, expectations have improved recently, leading to only a slight decrease in production.

WCO marks its first leadership transition, demonstrating its transition towards full maturity, as demonstrated by the switch in leadership from the two previous Co-Chairs, Justin Chadwick (for the South Hemisphere) and José Antonio García (for the North Hemisphere) to a new team formed by Sergio del Castillo (for the South Hemisphere) and Badr Bennis (for the North Hemisphere), who will guide the work of the Association over the upcoming two years.

The two outgoing Co-Chairs highlighted WCO’s notable achievements since its founding, quadrupling its membership, making WCO a notable forum for citrus sector actors to exchange perspectives and data on matters of common concern. WCO has launched over the last five years new instruments like common data reporting formats and interactive databases for members with the latest production and trade forecast data, dedicated working groups to explore ways to boost the marketing and the promotion of all citrus categories, hosting of physical and online events allowing the sector to discuss and interact, helping to further the knowledge of actors, and liaising with the media to help promote the visibility of the sector.

On 25 May Freshfel Europe held its Annual Event 2023 in Brussels. The event brought together over 100 participants, including experts from the fresh produce sector, European Commission professionals, Members of the European Parliament and representatives from international organisations and associations. The Annual Event Public Conference focused on building a fresh image for fresh fruit and vegetables was preceded by Freshfel Europe’s Annual General Meeting, where the goals and ambitions for the Association in 2023 were set.

The Annual Event of Freshfel Europe 2023 took place on Thursday 25 May in central Brussels. The event was focused around the theme ‘A fresh face for fruit & vegetables. Rejuvenating fresh produce to stimulate healthy & sustainable consumption and featured top-level speakers from the European Commission, WRAP UK, Trianon Scientific Consulting, Planet Tracker and the OECD. The fresh produce industry is facing several challenges relating to climate change, misleading negative public depictions of products, and a steadily decreasing consumption rate. This year’s annual event focused on how the sector will position itself at the forefront of sustainable change, promoting accountability and responsibility to accurately showcase the many assets and benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables, portraying a ‘fresh face’ and the true qualities of the products.

Salvo Laudani, President of Freshfel Europe states: “We cannot continue to ignore this problem. Just a few years ago, during the pandemic, we were the heroes. Consumers knew we are a sustainable food alternative with high health benefits and low environmental impacts. Now, fruits and vegetables are more and more often being portrayed negatively, with misleading and untrue information on water use, quality and safety and affordability being disseminated in communication outlets.” One of the most common current misconceptions is that fruits and vegetables have become unaffordable, with prices driven up by the high inflation rates of the last year. However, as emphasised by Mr Laudani: “Estimations from Italy show that in 2022, monthly household expenditure increased by EUR 446, out of which grocery expenditure accounted for EUR 35 with 10 % being attributed to fruits and vegetables. That means that the inflation on fruits and vegetables only led to an increased cost of EUR 3,5 more per month, or 0,1 cents per day, for Italian households.”

Fresh produce is essential to the green transition and is central in European strategies such as the Green Deal, Farm to Fork, Fit for 55 and the EU Beating Cancer Plan. Speakers at the event highlighted the urgency to act now to reach these goals and stressed that although fruit and vegetables have the capacity and qualities of taking the lead in sustainability, there is still a lot more work to be done. Innovational efforts, new technologies and farming practices are still in their infancy, and greater attention must be paid to how to efficiently finance the efforts that need to be made for the sector to remain proactive.

While the meeting identified several areas where progress can be made, regulatory and financial hurdles remain. Philippe Binard, General Delegate of Freshfel Europe remarked: “Fruit and vegetables have a key role to play in the move towards a plant diet and sustainable food chains. Yet, policy changes are placing hurdles on the sector’s journey towards these objectives. Restrictions to the use of plant protection products, packaging, efficient labelling requirements and insufficient actions to stimulate innovation projects and consumption are impeding and delaying the move to fully sustainable fresh produce.

Before the Annual Event Public Conference, Freshfel Europe held its Annual General Meeting, during which the Freshfel Europe 2023 Activity Report, covering the Association’s activities in the period June 2022 to May 2023, was presented to the members. The Freshfel Europe 2023 Activity Report is available online here.

Prognosfruit’s 2022 European apple and pear crop forecast reveals that apple production is set to increase by 1 % compared to 2021, while the upcoming pear crop is estimated to increase by 20 % compared to last year’s record low crop of the decade and by 5 % compared to the 3-year average. On 4 August 2022, more than 200 international representatives from the apple and pear sector joined Prognosfruit 2022 in Belgrade, Serbia, the first in-person Prognosfruit event after two online editions, to discuss the 2022 production forecast for apples and pears.

The World Apple and Pear Association (WAPA) released the 2022/2023 European apple and pear crop estimate on the occasion of the 47th edition of the Prognosfruit, which took place on August 3-5 in Belgrade, Serbia, returning as an in-person event after two years of online editions. Philippe Binard stated: “The apple production in the EU27 and UK is estimated to increase by 1 % to reach 12.167.887 T compared to last year. This year’s crop is also forecasted to be 9 % above the average of 2019-2020- 2021”. The European crop continues its adaptation to the varieties and quality specifications demanded by consumers. Dominik Wozniak, President of WAPA, indicated: “The prospects for the upcoming season are positive, although the sector will have to be prepared to face a variety of challenges including significant rising costs impacting the competitiveness of the sector, intense weather conditions, logistical issues, inflation, and difficulty to secure seasonal workers, with the ultimate goal of increasing consumption thanks to the quality of the products of the season and reverse the recent negative trend”.

Philippe Binard added: ”The EU pear crop for 2022 is estimated to increase by 20 % compared to last year’s record low crop of the decade and by 5 % compared to the 3-year average, rising to 2.077.000 T, mainly due to Italy and France more than doubling their production compared to 2021 (reaching 473.690 T and 137.000 T respectively), although, in the case of the former, the crop remains below its full potential.”. WAPA will continue to monitor the developments of the Northern Hemisphere crop and will issue updates when available.

The 2022 Prognosfruit Conference gathered more than 200 apple and pear sector experts from 23 countries. The event, organised by WAPA and Serbia Does Apples, featured the forecast and market analysis for the European apple and pear market as well as an overview of the latest trends in processing, organic, and the cider market. Luc Vanoideek (COPA COGECA-VBT) commented: “ The Belgrade meeting was the ideal opportunity to learn more about the development in the EU neighbourhood, including Serbia, Moldova, Ukraine, Turkey, as well as the Central Asia and Caucasus region” He further explained: “The additional contributions from representatives of China, India, and the USA provided to the conference a global outreach with the full picture of the whole Northern Hemisphere crop forecast.”

Prognosfruit is the compass for the apple and pear sector. Philippe Binard concluded: “The strong attendance at this first in-person Prognosfruit Conference after two years of online meetings is a clear sign that the sector representatives also very much appreciate the sense of community and networking opportunities that Prognosfruit provides. We look forward to continuing this tradition next year in Trento, Italy from 2 to 4 August 2023”.

On the occasion of its Annual General Meeting, the World Apple and Pear Association (WAPA) has released the Southern Hemisphere apple and pear crop forecast for the upcoming season. According to the forecast, which consolidates the data from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, and South Africa, apple and pear production is estimated to decrease by 7 % and 6 % respectively in 2022 compared to the previous year.

On 24 February 2022, on the occasion of its Annual General Meeting, the World Apple and Pear Association (WAPA) has released its 2022 apple and pear crop estimate for the Southern Hemisphere. This report has been compiled with the support of ASOEX (Chile), CAFI (Argentina), ABPM (Brazil), Hortgro (South Africa), APAL (Australia) and New Zealand Apples and Pears, and therefore provides consolidated data from the six leading Southern Hemisphere countries. WAPA’s Secretary General Philippe Binard commented “This forecast is released for the global apples and pears sector on the background of many uncertainties, including the geopolitical tension, the increasing costs for production, the impact of the rise of logistic costs and limited container availability, labour shortage and the increasing concerns of declining consumption due to economic situation”

The 2022 Southern Hemisphere apple crop forecast suggests a decrease of 7 % to a total of 4.864.000 T compared to last year (5.217.000 T), mainly due to the 30 % decrease in Brazil and the 11 % decrease in Argentina. Australia and Chile are also forecasted to decrease their production by 3 % and 2 % respectively. New Zealand and South Africa are the only countries where apple production is expected to increase (15 % and 4 % respectively). Chile is expected to remain the largest Southern Hemisphere apple producer in 2022 (1.455.000 T), followed by South Africa (1.163.000 T), Brazil (900.000 T), New Zealand (590.000 T), Argentina (445.000 T), and Australia (311.000 T). With 1.706.000 T, Gala remains by far the most popular variety, although its production is expected to decrease by 7 % compared to 2021. Despite the decrease in production, exports are forecasted to remain stable overall at 1.744.762 T, with the larger volumes exported by New Zealand (+ 17 %) and South Africa (+ 6 %) compensating for the 65 % decrease in Brazilian apple exports.

Regarding pears, the Southern Hemisphere growers predict a 6 % decrease of the crop, which will drop to 1.229.000 T. This is mainly due to the 13 % decrease in Argentina, the 11 % decrease in Chile, and the 6 % decrease in Australia. New Zealand and South Africa, on the other hand, are expected to increase their production by 31 % and 5 % respectively. Argentina remains the largest producer in the Southern Hemisphere (522.000 T), followed by South Africa (492.000 T), Chile (122.000 T), Australia (81.000 T), and New Zealand (11.000 T). Packham’s Triumph remains the most produced variety (444.000 T, despite a 4 % decrease compared to 2021), followed by Williams’ bon chrétien pears (306.000 T). Export figures are expected to decrease by 6 % compared to 2021 to a total of 641.207 T, mainly because of a 14 % decrease in Argentinian exports.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the stocks in the USA stood at 1.478.180 T (- 1 % compared to last year) for apples and 149.553 T for pears (+ 32 % compared to last year) on the 1st of February. In Europe, apple and pear stocks stood at 3.606.980 T (7 % up from last year) and 408.340 T (30 % down from last year). Philippe Binard commented: “Season developments clearly demonstrate the impact of logistics and costs on international trade also for Northern Hemisphere suppliers, with the USA concentrating sales for apples and pears in North America. European markets continue to be affected by the Belarus embargo, while the recent developments in Ukraine will also impact sales to all the destinations in Eastern Europe, including Russia, for all global apples and pears suppliers. It is important to continue building efforts to stimulate the consumption”. WAPA’s Annual General Meeting also hosted a discussion on CO2 emissions and how apple and pear production can reach carbon neutrality or even have a positive contribution to the environment. WAPA will continue to cooperate on this topic with its members in a dedicated working group based on the input and expertise of the University of Bolzano (Italy).

Finally, the Annual General Meeting also confirmed that Prognosfruit will return as an in-person event in the first half of August 2022 in Belgrade (Serbia). The exact date of the event will soon be announced.

Fresh lemon production for MY 2019/2020 is forecast at 1.6 MMT, down 11 % from 2018/19, as trees cyclically lower production in response to a heavy blossom the prior marketing year. Orange and tangerine production is projected at 720,000 MT and 390,000 MT, down 10 % and 13 % respectively, due to unfavorable weather conditions which affected fruit blossom.

MY 2019/2020 lemon exports are forecast at 300,000 MT, up 25% from 2018/19 primarily due to lower global supplies, reduced domestic demand for processing and expanded export market opportunities. Sweet citrus exports are expected to decrease slightly to 70,000 MT for oranges and 35,000 MT for tangerines. Smaller production and relatively high production costs have reduced Argentina’s ability to compete in international markets for sweet citrus against other Southern Hemisphere exporters, mainly South Africa.

Domestic consumption of lemons for MY 2019/2020 is forecast to remain stable at 150,000 MT, and fresh orange and tangerine consumption is projected to fall to 300,000 MT and 220,000 MT, respectively, due to smaller production.

Please download the full citrus crop production forecast: https://bit.ly/39q64da