The U.S. continues to be a significant destination for Peruvian citrus since it became a major importer of the commodity four years ago.
The nations reached that trade status in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Last year, Peru’s citrus exports reached a volume of 68,500 metric tons, with 23% (15,677 metric tons) of that shipped to the U.S., said Sergio del Castillo, general manager of the Lima-based nonprofit Citrus Growers Association of Peru, or ProCitrus.
Last year’s shipments of Peruvian fruit to the U.S. valued a total $15.6 million, said Beatriz Tubino, agricultural exports manager, Exporters Association, Lima, Peru.
The main citrus export, tangerines, reached $12.2 million last year, she said.
This year, del Castillo said he expects to see an 8% increase in volume over last year.
Shipments of mandarins to the U.S. began in mid-April, and by late May, 350 metric tons had been sent, del Castillo said.
The average shipment takes three weeks to arrive, and shipments to the U.S. are expected to continue until about early September, del Castillo said.
About 85% of Peruvian citrus exports are grown by the 140 ProCitrus members, who have about 7,000 hectares (about 17,300 acres) of orchards, Del Castillo said.
ProCitrus expects to ship about 750 40-foot containers of citrus, including soft citrus, oranges and limes, to the U.S. this year. The main varieties ProCitrus growers export to the U.S. are minneola tangelos, and mandarins, such as satsumas, clementines, novas and w. murcotts, del Castillo said. ProCitrus also exports navel oranges and limes.
Grower-shipper La Calera, Chincha, Peru, begins its soft citrus exports to the U.S. with satsumas, said Estuardo Masias, owner.
Satsumas help fill the gap between the clementine seasons in California and the Southern Hemisphere, he said. Satsumas are La Calera’s biggest variety, but the company is building its export programs of other types of citrus.
La Calera grows citrus on about 1,400 hectares (about 3,460 acres) of drip-irrigated orchards. Its export division is Prolan, in Lima, and it markets fruit in the U.S. through its import company, Miami-based Andean Sun Produce.
In May and June, Prolan exports La Calera’s oronules, nules, nours and other varieties of clementines.
In May, Masias said La Calera’s volume of clementines was increasing, with additional orchards being planted in anticipation of a bigger U.S. export program.
La Calera’s second-largest citrus crop is the minneola tangerine, which is harvested beginning in July, Masias said. Prolan exports about 2,000 tons of minneolas to the U.S. in a year.