ISRAEL – The 2024 Orri mandarin export season from Israel has shown a 30% decrease in volume owing to the general situation in the agricultural environment in Israel, regarding the war, mainly the lack of workers, logistics limitations and some inactive plantations.
Betsalel Ohana, export manager for Planet Israel, states that overall production of this late season mandarin variety is slightly down because of these factors.
“Compared to 2023, Orri mandarin production in Israel is down slightly, by around 5-10%,” explained Ohana. “This is primarily due to reduced fruit set during the flowering stage, likely influenced by a combination of factors as higher than average winter temperatures, fluctuating humidity levels and lack of workers.”
However, he further clarified that compared to the pre-pandemic average, between 2017 and 2019, production is still holding steady trend. As a result, the export season is starting these days with about 30% less volume.
Pointing out on the possibility of weather impacting the current trend, Ohana stated that the overall growing season has been relatively favorable, with adequate rainfall and sunshine.
In fact, the fruit size this year is generally within the expected range, with no significant variations compared to previous seasons.
Growers in Israel have implemented meticulous crop management practices to optimize fruit size and maintain the high standards that Orri mandarins are known for.
Their main sizes these days are the medium sizes; 1xx, 1x, 1,2, which have good demand in West Europe. Canada and USA prefer more of the bigger sizes; 1xxx, 1xx and 1x.
Demand for the Orri mandarins has been on a good level according to Ohana: “Our main markets in Europe are France, Italy, and the Netherlands. Some European markets, particularly in Scandinavia and the UK, are showing increased interest, likely due to growing consumer awareness and appreciation for the fruit’s unique qualities.”
However, certain Asian markets, previously major importers, are experiencing slight declines due to logistical challenges and economic factors.
Furthermore, global logistical challenges, including container shortages and rising shipping costs, continue to impact the export season.
“Despite these challenges, Israeli exporters are working diligently to find alternative solutions and maintain efficient transportation of Orri mandarins to international markets.”
Since their main markets are West Europe and North America, they are not influenced by the situation in the Arab Gulf, as the shipping lines start the route from the ports of Israel directly to the West.
However, there is hope. With the peak export season approaching, Orri mandarin volumes are expected to increase steadily in the coming weeks.
“The weakness of the local currency (NIS) compared to the foreign currencies, Euro and USD, assists us to compensate for the decreased volume,” Ohana concluded.
“Fruit quality is anticipated to remain excellent, ensuring a satisfying experience for consumers worldwide and the prices are likely to remain stable.”
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