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The Peruvian Citrus Sector Works to Regain Momentum

As the citrus export season in Peru approaches, challenges and opportunities loom for the sector. With the harvest of the first mandarins already underway, the impact of El Niño remains, creating size and quality issues due to elevated temperatures that have made pests more resistant to pesticides.

Last season, El Niño wreaked havoc on citrus production, resulting in smaller sizes. According to Manuel Olaechea, Manager of Sunfruits, this climatic phenomenon delayed flowering, reducing productivity per acre. Despite these challenges, the sector has expanded its production area by an additional 148 acres this year, hoping to recover volume.

The primary destination markets for Peruvian citrus remain the United States, China, Europe, Central America, and Canada. Despite the increase in cultivated areas, the difficulties arise in achieving the desired appearance for exports.

Olaechea comments on the complexities in the Ica region to obtain the desired colors and shades for citrus. Although the fruits are internally ripe and ready for consumption, they often exhibit greenish tones on the skin, posing an aesthetic challenge. He explains that it is challenging to convey to consumers that the fruit is ripe on the inside. In search of more understanding markets, China emerges as a prominent option, where mandarins have high demand.

However, competition has intensified with the entry of players like Morocco and South Africa into the Chinese market. This situation complicates the landscape for Peru, as these competitors enter the market with fruits with the right color, while Peruvian mandarins arrive green, leading to a significant price decrease.

Looking ahead to the next season, Olaechea states that they expect to have much better calibers. The fruit has already begun to develop, showing an increase in size compared to last year. However, concern persists about the possible impact of El Niño in the Ica region.

In conclusion, despite the challenges, the citrus sector in Peru is determined to regain its momentum. The expansion of productive areas and the pursuit of understanding markets as China, are key strategies. However, intense competition highlights the need to overcome aesthetic challenges and improve logistical coordination to maintain competitiveness in the global market.

Source: Information based on report