Despite a drought in Mexico, and a forecast of a 45 percent drop in citrus production, total exports to the U.S. are expected to see a minimum drop in 2020.
While an ongoing and significant drought continue, navel orange exports to the U.S. should be down only 3 percent. Most of the decline affects valencia oranges destined for the juice market.
Mexican orange production is on 847,000 acres, but the USDA reports high tree mortality is expected due to prolonged high temperatures and lack of rain. Producers in Veracruz report widespread replanting of orange trees is underway.
Orange yields are down by about 30 percent, while the 2019-20 harvest of 2.53 million metric tons is 45 percent lower than a previous estimate and one of the lowest projected harvests since the early 1990s.
There are also concerns without increased government support, citrus greening disease could become a more serious problem throughout the country.
Most Mexican fresh oranges shipped to the U.S. are navel oranges from Sonora, and the USDA projects 2019-20 fresh exports to the U.S. will reach 60,000 metric tons, down 3 percent from 2018-19.
Mexico is the world’s second-largest producer of limes, with production in the states of Michoacán, Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Tamaulipas.
While drought has hurt lemon and lime production, the damage has not been as severe as suffered by oranges.
Nearly all lime exports go to the U.S. Mexican exports of lemons and limes to the U.S. are forecast at 755,000 metric tons for 2019-20, unchanged from 2018-19.