Fresh from the field: Vanguard International shares Egyptian citrus crop update

The new season of Egyptian citrus that started in mid-November is now in full swing. A strong, though not record-breaking season is expected.

Weather has affected growers differently depending which area their crops are in. Certain citrus growers in the region are noting an increase in volume between 15 and 25% while others are recording a reduction of up to 40%.

Even with the heat waves during bloom that affected flower set in some areas, a good size crop is expected, with Egypt remaining the top orange exporter to the EU. A smaller crop is synonymous with early timing and bigger fruit which is typical of the Egyptian crop this year (with particularly large sizes on Navel types).

Navel, Valencia and Soft citrus are currently all in the market. Navel availability is normally from September to March, while Valencia is available from end of January to end of May. Peak sizes on Valencia are count 56/64 with less count 80/88. Brix is around 10.5–11% and the crop appears to be starting earlier than last season.

Soft citrus being packed now includes the well sized Honey Murcott as well as Tango varieties. The brix range between size groups is from 9.6 to 11.6%. The packing of soft citrus started earlier than last year, and Valencia will most likely end earlier as well.

Investment in new plantings and improved infrastructure in all aspects of citrus production, from irrigation to packaging, is starting to show its benefits and will aid in offsetting weather challenges affecting crop volumes. This season’s Egyptian Citrus crops are estimated to come in with a decrease of 30% compared to last year, although this is a very general look at the total crop and the situation will likely be very different depending on the grower, and in which region they are in. Last season was a near perfect one for citrus production in and it helped Egypt become the top orange supplier to the EU. Navel and Valencia oranges are Egypt’s main citrus varieties accounting for 80% of their citrus export.

Egypt also managed to open new markets including New Zealand, Brazil, and Japan to help move the continuing volume growth. South Africa however remains the top citrus exporter to the EU when adding Grapefruit and Lemons to these figures.