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The Brazilian citrus belt will produce 287.76 million boxes of orange in the 2020/21 campaign

The 25.6% drop in relation to the previous season is due to the lower nutritional reserve of the plants and to unfavorable weather conditions.


Brazilian citrus.

The 2020/21 orange harvest of the São Paulo and Triângulo / Southwest Mineiro citrus belt is estimated at 287.76 million boxes of 40.8 kg, according to the announcement made yesterday by Fundecitrus. The number is 25.6% less than the previous harvest, which was completed in 386.79 million boxes, and 12.5% ​​less than the average of the last ten years. Some 20.56 million boxes are expected to be produced in Triângulo Mineiro.

Average productivity is estimated at 790 boxes per hectare, compared to 1,045 boxes per hectare obtained in the previous season.

"It is a small harvest considering the productive potential of the orchards, but this is due to the biennial cycle of the orange," explains Fundecitrus general manager Juliano Ayres. “Since the past harvest was high, the plant's nutritional reserve this year is lower. In addition, we verify the unfavorable climatic conditions during the fixation and the first phase of growth of the fruit ”, he comments.

Influence of climate and late flowering

The failure of the harvest was caused by the reduction in the number of fruits per tree compared to the previous harvest. The large production in the previous season increased the consumption of the plant's nutritional reserves, making them scarcer and triggering the phenomenon known as production alternation. In addition, the climate also had a negative influence: the high temperatures in the months of September and October 2019 hindered the fixation of the newly formed fruits.

Unfavorable weather conditions were also observed in March and April 2020 and reached the fruits already at a more advanced stage of development. According to Somar Meteorology data, the accumulated volume of rain in this period did not even reach half of the historical average (1981-2010) and restricted the growth of the fruit.

Of the estimated total, 245.15 million boxes are of first and second flowering fruit (85.2% of the total), 34.64 million boxes of third flowering (12%) and 7.97 million boxes of fourth flowering (2 , 8%).

The dry weather in March and April 2020 restricted the growth of the fruit, which is expected to remain less until harvest. The expectation is that the oranges will be harvested with a weight of 159 grams.

Alternating productivity in regions

Productivity by sector this season, compared to the previous year, shows significant variations between locations. The Northwest, which covers the Votuporanga and São José do Rio Preto regions, ranks first in the ranking that measures the drop in productivity. The 492 boxes per hectare, which should be produced in this sector, represent a 46.7% drop in relation to the 2019/20 harvest. Then there are the North sector (Triângulo Mineiro, Bebedouro and Altinópolis regions), with an expected productivity of 686 boxes per hectare (-35.9%); the Center sector (Matão, Duartina and Brotas regions), with 721 boxes per hectare (-30.1%); the South sector (Porto Ferreira and Limeira regions), with an expectation of 781 boxes per hectare (-16.5%); and the southwest (Avaré and Itapetininga regions), where 1,185 boxes per hectare (-2.7%) must be harvested.

“The greater the drop in productivity expected for this harvest, the greater the increase observed in the previous harvest. This is evidence of the biennial orange production cycle, which shows that the fruit load of one year is normally inversely proportional to the load of the previous year, reflecting significant variations in productivity per hectare that alternate between crops ", analyzes the PES coordinator, Vinícius Trombin. "But the main reason for the fluctuations in crops is the climatic changes that often occur from one year to the next. In regions with a more stable climate, such as Avaré and Itapetininga, the fluctuations in productivity are less ”, adds the research coordinator.

Recovery of juice consumption

The citrus belt in São Paulo and Triângulo / Sudoeste Mineiro is the world's largest producer of juice orange. According to the PES methodological coordinator and professor at USP and FGV, Marcos Fava Neves, the 2020/21 harvest and the volume of stocks are now balanced due to the recovery in demand for juice, which heated up in the main markets due to Covid -19 pandemic.

"In light of the quest to strengthen immunity, the citrus industry is seeing increased consumption of orange juice. It is an extremely nutritious liquid food," he says.

Citrus and sustainability

This year, PES estimated, based on a methodology developed by Embrapa Territorial, the area with preserved forest present in citrus properties: there are 182 thousand hectares in the entire citrus belt. On average, there is one hectare dedicated to preserving properties for every 2.52 hectares dedicated to citrus cultivation. The data was obtained from the crossing of information collected in the field by Fundecitrus with the data from the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR).

"The work shows us the important role of citrus in preserving the environment and biodiversity, with the coexistence of a large area of ​​environments preserved on farms," ​​says Trombin.


To prepare the estimate, 2,557 plots were counted, plant by plant, and 1,590 trees were harvested in the citrus belt. "The reduction in the number of samples due to Covid-19 had very little impact on the overall result of the survey, which can be demonstrated by the error of ± 2.65% in the average number of fruits per tree," he comments. PES methodologies analyst José Carlos Barbosa, professor at the Department of Engineering and Exact Sciences of FCAV / Unesp.

The Fundecitrus Crop Estimation Survey is carried out in cooperation with Markestrat, the Faculty of Economics, Administration and Accounting (FEA) of the University of São Paulo (USP) and the Faculty of Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences (FCAV) of the Paulista State University University "Júlio de Mesquita" (Unesp).

Productivity by sector: comparative of 2020 with respect to 2019.

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