BRAZIL – Brazil anticipates a slight decline in its orange crop for Marketing Year (MY) 2023/24, foreseeing an estimated production of 408 million 40.8-kg boxes (MBx), amounting to 16.5 million metric tons (MMT), a recent GAIN report reveals.

This projection reflects a 1.03 percent decrease compared to the current crop estimate of MY 2022/23, largely attributed to the impact of greening disease across Brazil’s citrus belt.

The incidence of greening, a pervasive citrus disease, has challenged Brazil’s citrus cultivation, particularly within the citrus belt, emphasizing the pressing concerns facing the nation’s primary citrus-producing region.

In the state of São Paulo and the western region of Minas Gerais, known as the “Triângulo Mineiro,” an approximate yield of 307 million 40.8-Kg boxes (12.52 MMT) is projected for MY 2022/2023, as reported by the Defense Fund for Citriculture (Fundecitrus).

This encompasses an estimated production of 27.60 million boxes in the Triângulo Mineiro region and 280 million boxes in São Paulo.

Brazil boasts an array of orange varieties, including Hamlim, Westin, Rubi, Valencia Americana, Seleta, Pineapple, BRS Alvorada, Pera Rio, Valencia, “Folha Murcha” Valencia, and Natal, and possesses a highly industrialized citriculture chain.

A substantial portion, approximately 30 percent, of Brazil’s orange production caters to the fresh fruit market, while the remaining 70 percent is channeled for juice processing.

According to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), citrus cultivation spans 584,443 hectares, with the citrus belt accounting for 83 percent of the nation’s cultivated area.

Despite these numbers, the citrus belt grapples with the highest incidence of greening disease, with 38 percent of plants exhibiting symptoms.

The forecast for MY 2023/24 suggests a planting area of 590,000 hectares, slightly reduced due to densely cultivated plants.

Brazil currently hosts 5,134 orange grove properties, predominantly large producers with substantial productivity.

However, challenges such as pests, escalating production costs, and labor shortages have prompted numerous small-scale producers to exit the industry, potentially leading to a shift in cultivation to other crops like sugar cane or livestock farming, especially in São Paulo.

The forthcoming MY 2023/24 foresees a decrease in yield per tree at 1.80 boxes/tree, a 1.1 percent decline due to potential impacts from greening and El Niño.

The total Brazilian tree inventory is estimated at 240 million for MY 2023/24, with a slight reduction primarily projected in the São Paulo commercial citrus belt.

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