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Flowers of the 2023/24 crop, verified in the second semester of 2022, were considered excellent in the citrus belt of São Paulo and Triângulo Mineiro, which resulted in expectations of a good harvest. However, the weather after flowers blossomed was not ideal in many areas. Therefore, the next season may register lower supply compared to the demand.

Areas that have irrigation system (44 % of the total is located in the north of São Paulo state) registered anticipated flowers (in mid-July), and the weather was good after the blossoming. In this case, the development is considered satisfactory.

In other areas, however, scenarios were very distinct, since the rainfall was irregular and at different volumes among the regions. In the southwest of SP, flowers blossomed in late September, while it occurred in mid-October in other areas. In this case, as flowers opened in the rainy season (September/October), there had been more cases of blossom-end rot (“estrelinha”), increasing flower abortion.

Another aspect that reinforced concerns of the citrus sector in Brazil is the below-average amount of rainfall in many regions during the flower-settlement (especially in November), and temperatures were high in some moments. Thus, fruitlets dropped. From mid-December until now, rains have been more frequent, which brings relief, but are not capable to revert the scenario of losses.

In general, players expected that the 2023/24 season would be higher than the current; however, after many difficulties, opinions have started to change. The USDA released a report in December indicating that the Brazilian production may total 305 million 40.8-kilo boxes, 1.9% less compared to the current crop. It is important to mention that a more accurate forecast for 2023/24 will be possible only in mid-February.

Therefore, the scenario of low inventories at the end of 2022/23 may not be reverted in the next season. CitrusBR says that the ending stocks by June/23 may total only 140 thousand tons, lower than the strategic level, of 250 thousand tons.

Cepea calculations indicate that, in order for the volume in stocks by the end of 2023/24 (in June/24) returns to the strategic level of 250 thousand tons, the orange processing in 2023/24 may be at roughly 300 million 40.8-kilo boxes, which is equivalent to a production in São Paulo state and in Triângulo Mineiro at 340 million boxes, higher than what the USDA forecast.

TAHITI LIME – The first two months of 2023 may register high supply in São Paulo state, due to the peak period, which can press down quotations. On the other hand, as the industry may intensify processing activities and exports tend to increase in this period, the volume available is expected to reduce in the domestic market.