Growing export interest for pigmented oranges
New trends in citrus varieties are emerging in different export markets, but Spain-based consultant John Chavarria has warned growers to do due diligence before chasing trends.
Interest in pigmented oranges, like Cara Cara, and seedless lemons is growing in Asia and northern America.
However, John said growers should discuss new varieties with their packer before planting.
“Spread your risk across different markets and varieties,” John said.
“Be open to new varieties and gather information.”
John said growers should be prepared that some varieties may not adapt to certain growing conditions, and factor this into their calculations.
“As a high COP country, we need to deliver fruit that excels. Clean fruit is becoming increasingly relevant, particularly markets that are not so strong, like Europe.
“This will help against competition from countries in the southern hemisphere with a low cost of production.
“It’s becoming increasingly important for Australian citrus to be good quality, have a high brix, good colour and low residue.
“In Asia, perception is we have sweeter fruit than competitors. We must be market driven rather than production driven.”
John said there remains strong interest in navels in Asia, with growth opportunities in China, although there is declining consumption in western markets.
Pigmented oranges (Cara Cara and blood types) are attracting increasing interest in Asia, the US and Canada. Cara Cara has a strong position in the US.
“The market is looking for a Cara Cara with a blush and a later season.”
There is also a need for bloods with more consistent colour and better size, and potential opportunities for pigmented valencias, he said.
John said seed counts for Tango and Afourer mandarins in the future will be crucial for most markets and will impact grower returns.
To maintain demand in Asian markets, John said mandarins require high brix (generally 13+) with smooth skins, good colour and medium size, although seedless was not a priority yet.