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Citrus growers enjoy a juicy year, reach new markets

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Juguera Akil, which proceseses citrus, in southern Yucatán. Photo: Opinión Yucatán
Juguera Akil, which processes citrus, in southern Yucatán. Photo: Opinión Yucatán

Producing 247,000 tons of produce this year, Yucatán’s citrus farmers are having a good year, said the secretary general of the League of Agrarian Communities and Farmers Union of the National Farmworkers Confederation of Yucatan (CNC).

The leader, Marco Vela Reyes, told Notimex that said this level of production has allowed the citrus sector to generate more than 400 million pesos in revenue for 7,000 producers, most of whom are in the Southern “cone” of the peninsula.

Citrus on display at a Feria de la Naranja, an Orange Fair, in Oxkutzcab. Photo: Diario de Yucatán
Citrus on display at a Feria de la Naranja, an Orange Fair, in Oxkutzcab. Photo: Diario de Yucatán

He said the state of Yucatán continues to be the country’s fifth biggest producer of sweet orange, the sixth producer of lemon, and the seventh largest producer of grapefruit this year.

Grapefruit reaches Japan

Local grapefruit has achieved a critical phytosanitary certification that allows it to reach demanding markets, such as Japan, where Yucatán has already sent several tons.

“This is an important achievement for producers. Now the goal is to triple grapefruit exports next year, both to Japan and to other countries that might be interested,” he said.

Juice production paid off for Yucatán's farmers in 2016. Photo: Sipse
Juice production paid off for Yucatán’s farmers in 2016. Photo: Sipse

Another objective of the citrus producers from Yucatán, he said, was to resume the export of sour orange. CNC has increased the delivery of sour orange grafts to producers.

He said that most of the production would be sold in the local and national market and that the juicing facility in Akil, the main processing plant in Yucatán, began to acquire sour orange in September.

“They process these citrus to make juice concentrates that are then sold in countries like Germany and the United States and in the domestic market. The juicing facility pays 1,300 pesos per ton to producers,” he added.

Vela Reyes said that despite the budget cuts for the field, they still had a budget to fight the yellow dragon plague that was affecting the citrus industry.

These annual resources now total 2 million pesos, which are being deployed through the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA). A course of action that will be continued in 2017, he explained.

“This support has helped us to maintain the health status of our production. We produce an average of 300,000 tons per year and this allows us to be self-sufficient in the supply of citrus,” he said.

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