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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.