Check out the latest news about European citrus in this USDA FAS report, including the heavy pressure on growers of easy peelers. Also, I've excerpted a portion of the report on changes to EU agriculture policy and support.
EU-27 citrus orchards include orange, lemon, mandarin and grapefruit groves. Production is mainly located in the Mediterranean regions of Spain, Italy and Greece, with lesser production in France, Cyprus, Malta and Portugal. For MY 2010/11, total EU citrus production is expected to be stable with a 5 percent decrease in orange production and a minor increase in mandarin, lemon, and grapefruit production.
Production: While Spanish farmers continue to replant their groves with new varieties to extend the production season, the principal obstacle to mandarin production remains the production windfall during the initial months of the marketing year -- October, November and December. Spain’s tangerine production is expected to increase by approximately 8 percent to 2,190,000 MT in MY 2010/11.
This year the weather was favorable. Spring was cool and rainy giving the plant optimal development conditions and this translated in a good production of fruit with adequate commercial sizes. Tangerines are the second most important citrus product in Portugal, after oranges. The Algarve is the most representative region. The production of tangerines is also expected to increase in MY 2010/11 to over 68,000 MT due to good weather. Italian tangerine MY 2010/2011 harvest is forecast to remain stable at MY 2009/10 levels.
Despite that Italian tangerine producers are facing hard times in MY 2010/11 due to falling prices triggered by increasing supply in the world market. Growing imports especially from Spain together with decreasing domestic consumption are severely hampering the tangerine sector in the main producing regions (Sicilia, Calabria and Basilicata). If prices do not rise over the marketing year, farm margins are expected to be negative. According to first estimates however, early easy peelers from Calabria show a good quality level. MY 2010/11 production is expected at 835,000 MT slightly above previous year harvest.
About 20 percent of total crop is represented by the traditional mandarins, cultivated mainly in Sicily, while the remaining 80 percent is given by the hybrid varieties, which prevail in other southern regions (Calabria and Apulia). Greek tangerine production is expected to increase by 10 percent in MY 2010/2011. The main producing areas include the prefectures of Igoumenitsa, Arta, Mosologgi, and Thesprotia, located in northern Greece. Clementine is the major tangerine variety grown in Greece.