The Citrus Price War Remains

By Hari Yellina
Pic supplied

According to Intercitrus, the pricing battle between competing citrus producers in the EU (Egypt, South Africa, Turkey, and Morocco) and European citrus, which resulted in the dismal 2021-2022 citrus campaign, was here to stay. Because of the huge volume of third-country citrus fruits that reach the European Union and their low costs, the Spanish citrus sector is still unable to promote its produce, such as the Navelina. Inmaculada Sanfeliu, the president of Intercitrus, stated that the citrus sector is the nation’s third-largest exporter, trailing only automobiles and ceramic products, and that production has doubled from 3.5 million tonnes in the 1985-1986 campaign to 7.5 million tonnes today, putting it in fourth or fifth place globally. She noted that the sector’s exports have expanded and that new markets are being opened every day.

According to Sanfeliu, items from third countries entering the EU must meet the same standards as European products in terms of labour legislation and social rights, as well as environmental protection and food safety. “We produce citrus fruits to the highest international standards in the world’s most demanding and attractive market. In the meantime, third-country products can enter the EU market without needing to meet these rules, and nothing happens “she continued. In this environment, the market is completely open; anyone from anywhere can come in with different marketing conditions, she explained.

Sanfeliu also warned about the phytosanitary and food safety hazards that these imports represent to the EU’s citrus industry, requesting that this issue be separated from the citrus industry’s commercial situation. Three key pests, she noted, pose phytosanitary threats to the sector: the false moth, black spot, and the presence of greening vectors in the Algarve and Israel. The latter is a terrible disease that has the potential to wipe out the citrus industry in a small-scale municipality like Valencia. As a result, she urged that the EU impose cold treatment of all products entering the market.

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