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The World Citrus Organisation (WCO) has released its annual Northern Hemisphere Citrus Forecast for the upcoming citrus season (2023-24). The Forecast was released on the occasion of the Global Citrus Outlook conference organized by WCO. The forecast is based on data from Egypt, Greece, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United States. This year, the Forecast shows that citrus production is projected to reach 28,976,001 T, which represents a 12.2 % increase compared to the previous peak low season. The 2023/2024 forecast is 1.48 % higher than the average of the last 4 seasons.

WCO, the World Citrus Organisation, released its annual Northern Hemisphere citrus forecast for the upcoming season (2023-24). The preliminary Forecast is based on data from industry associations from the Mediterranean region and the United States. Total citrus exports are expected to follow a similar trend at 9,483,770 T, up by 11.4 % from last season and 4.5 % from the last four seasons’ average.

Philippe Binard, WCO Secretary General, summarised the outcome of the Forecast. “The market insights we received indicate a recovery from the low point of last season. The growth is mainly influenced by growth in Turkey and Egypt while other countries are stable or only recorded marginal gains”. Eric Imbert from CIRAD added, “While this year’s forecast shows a recovery with variable conditions across the producing countries and citrus categories, many parameters have to be taken into account for the market analysis”. He added: “Climatic issues, such as late frost, drought, heat waves, or new pests and diseases influenced the quality, colouring, or harvest date for the production. The market will still be impacted by geopolitical instability while consumer demand is under pressure due to limitation of purchasing power and inflation”.

Looking at the country-specific figures for the largest producers in the EU, Spain’s citrus production at 5.9 MT is up by 2 % to previous seasons, with stable soft citrus compared to last year, fewer oranges (- 6 %) and more lemons. Italy is up by 6 % at 2.6 MT, with more oranges (+ 20 %) and less soft citrus and lemons (- 10 % each), while Greece is down by 7 % to 1.1 MT. In the other Mediterranean countries, Turkey is now the market leader with a first production estimate of 6.5 MT (+ 45 %), with strong growth across all categories. The Turkish production forecast could even exceed 7 MT. This results from the increased acreage and productivity, alternance, and favourable climatic conditions. Egypt at 5.4 MT is up by 10 % from the previous season and 15 % from the average of the last 4 years. The main category is oranges with 3,7 MT (+ 5 %) while soft citrus’s double-digit growth should almost reach 1.3 MT. Morocco’s production is expected to partially recover, bouncing back to just over 2 MT, with 1 MT of soft citrus (+ 11 %) and 930,000 T of oranges. Israel’s production is estimated at 365,000 T, but the recent conflict and attack on the country is a source of multiple challenges regarding supply, logistics, and human resources for harvesting and packing. The production in the United States will be up by 1 % at 4.5 MT with more oranges ( + 10 % at 2.4 MT) but less soft citrus (- 2 % at 856,000 T) and even less so for lemon ( – 12 % at 889,000 T).

Philippe Binard added: “WCO is also setting some trends for the expected utilization of citrus for the upcoming season. The global citrus exports will be up by 11 % to reach 9,4 MT, while processing will increase by 8 % to reach 4,7 MT, leaving 14.7 MT for domestic sales (+ 14 %.). Next April, the WCO will release the 2024 production and export forecast for the Southern Hemisphere.

The World Citrus Organisation (WCO) Secretariat, together with its partner Fruitnet Media International, is finalising preparations for the first edition of the Global Citrus Congress, which will take place on 5 November 2020. The Global Citrus Congress will bring together the citrus community to discuss the current trends, challenges and opportunities for the citrus sector. More than 300 participants from across the globe have already registered to attend the virtual congress.

The programme of the first edition of the Global Citrus Congress 2020 will highlight the key areas of interest for the sector. This will include production and marketing trends, facilitating cooperation between suppliers and retailers to add value to the citrus category, new technologies and supply chain innovation helping citrus producers and marketers to respond to consumer demands towards increased sustainability, and harnessing the nutritional power of citrus to develop more effective marketing campaigns. Confirmed speakers include top representatives from the global citrus community, including Ms Naomi Pendleton from AM FRESH Group, Mr Jose Luis Molina from Hispatec, Mr John Chamberlain from Limoneira and Stephan Wesit from Rewe.

WCO Co-Chair and Director of AILIMPO Jose Antonio Garcia affirmed, “There is no doubt that this first edition of the Global Citrus Congress will provide an excellent opportunity to discuss the challenges of the future and consolidate the role of the World Citrus Organisation as a meeting point for the great citrus fruit family. Cooperation, communication and constructive debate are the key to tomorrow’s  success as these are the objectives of the Global Citrus Congress”. WCO Co-Chair and CEO of the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa Justin Chadwick added “As the World Citrus Organisation goes from strength to strength in terms of membership, this Congress will share important global citrus information and the views of leading actors in the sector. It is an event not to be missed”.

The Global Citrus Congress will be available live in both English and Spanish, and is free to join online and open to anyone with a smartphone or laptop and a high-speed internet connection. Registrations are still open at www.citruscongress.com.

On 4 February, the World Citrus Organisation (WCO) held its first official meeting at Fruit Logistica, Berlin. Following its presentation in October 2019 during Fruit Attraction, WCO members discussed the overall trends of the global citrus market and the draft Statutes of the organisation, which will define the future structure and functioning of WCO. The WCO will be the first and only global platform for dialogue and action among the citrus producing countries worldwide.

During the meeting, the relevance of such a platform was highlighted in the light of the latest world citrus trade and production trends, as presented by CIRAD, the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development. Participants from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Peru, South Africa, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay and the USA also reaffirmed the consensus of the sector on the need for a global discussion platform. Prospective members have now until mid-March to register following their internal procedures. Other citrus producing countries are also invited to join the organization, as well as private entities interested in the fresh and processed citrus markets, which can become affiliated members of WCO.

During the meeting, WCO founding members also re-confirmed the mandate of the organisation:

  • Discuss common issues affecting citrus producing countries.
  • Exchange information on production and market trends to prepare for the next decade to come.
  • Foster dialogue on policy issues of common concern.
  • Identify and promote Research and Innovation projects specific to the citrus sector.
  • Liaise with public and private stakeholders on citrus-related matters to highlight the importance of citrus producers and the need for a fair return.
  • Promote the global consumption of citrus.

Freshfel Europe, the European Fresh Produce Association, whose Secretariat is based in Brussels, Belgium, will coordinate and administer the WCO. CIRAD was also appointed as market analyst expert to advise the Organisation with analysis of trends for the citrus industry globally.

Following the Berlin discussions, the statutes of the organisation will go through a period of final consultations. WCO will then resume work on the collection of production and marketing data for this season. Discussions are also ongoing with a view to organise a first World Citrus Conference either in late 2020 or in 2021.

On 13 November 2019 in Brussels the European Commission launched the new Market Observatory for Citrus fruit. On this occasion the European Commission requested Jose Antonio Garcia Fernandez, Director of Ailimpo and one of the initiators of the World Citrus Organization (WCO), to present the structure, the role and the objectives of this newly created platform for the global citrus category.

The European Commission welcomed this global initiative taken under the lead of Ailimpo, underlying the relevance of such a platform for the citrus sector to exchange information and debate on matters of common concern to enhance the citrus category.

Such a platform is fully aligned with the objectives of the European Market Observatory, which aim to provide market transparency and trends. Therefore, the work of the World Citrus Organization will be beneficial for the deliberation of the European Market Observatory for Citrus. Following their on-going collaboration with other similar international fruit platforms, the European Commission looks forward to having a fruitful cooperation with the new citrus structure once it is fully operational.

Freshfel Europe with its experts and the support of its Brussels based secretariat is eager to contribute to the success of the Market Observatories and the various sub sections such as citrus, peaches and nectarines, apples and pears, and tomatoes.

TOP bv from Wageningen will outsource the sales and marketing of food processing equipment to Like Fresh. All equipment that is produced in series by TOP will be marketed by Like Fresh, starting this week. This will allow TOP to continue to focus on the development of new technologies.

TOP is the innovation organization behind successful introductions such as the Cold Press, Pluckr, PurePulse, Hygienisator and Compact Food Dryer. The demand from the food industry for these technologies is high, as a result of which the equipment is now produced in series. To maintain its unique innovation capabilities, TOP has decided to outsource the marketing of this equipment to Like Fresh.

TOP will continue to focus on the development of highly innovative food processing technologies. In addition, TOP will continue to offer consultancy projects for customers, and provide Like Fresh with the necessary engineering support.

Like Fresh – a sister company of TOP – is a new organization in which years of experience in the food industry has come together. “We offer extensive knowledge of the latest developments in mild preservation and storage of fruit and vegetables”, says Rob Veltman, director. “Like Fresh provides high-quality solutions for producers around the world, such as new process lines or innovative applications within existing processes. In this we work together with the engineers from TOP and other innovation partners.”