The Citrus Fruit Industry in Israel
|Tal Amit- The plantes Production and Marketing Board|
|September 10, 2015|
The citrus industry in
The Spanish and Portuguese seamen who plied those routes suffered from scurvy, a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C. When it was discovered that citrus fruit, which originated in
The industry's major drive forward began in the early nineteenth century, when a special type of citrus fruit was discovered in the groves of one of the Arab growers in
The citrus fruit's growing regions and the size of those areas:
The history of the citrus fruit in
A water shortage (1990-2000), competition with the building industry for expensive land resources in addition to competition from rival citrus fruit growers (
At the height of its success during the 1970s, citrus trees were planted over an area of 42,000 hectares, with the Shamouti variety accounting for more than half that area and the rest of the trees were oranges, which came on the market either earlier or later in the season, in addition to grapefruit (white) and some lemons. During that same period the industry produced 1.5 million tons of fruit, and about 1 million tons of these crops were exported during that same period. Currently citrus trees cover an area of 19, 400 hectares and yield 550,000 tons of fruit annually.
The preferred growing regions for the fruit (climate and soil) are along the coastal plain which constitutes the largest area (85%). Additional groves are located in the
Exports and destinations:
The regular citrus fruit season commences in mid-September (although nowadays fresh lemons and limes may also be available during the summer months) and extends until May the following year.
Apart from lemons and grapefruit whose range of different varieties are not diverse, a wide range of varieties of oranges and easily-peelable citrus fruits (e.g. tangerines) are grown, and each variety has a short season (usually two-three months) compared to the overall longer citrus fruit season. Sometimes the ripening season for a number of easily-peelable varieties of citrus fruit and several varieties of oranges overlap, and appear in the market simultaneously.
Israeli exports of citrus fruit are sold under the veteran successful and widely recognized "
Two products currently make up about 70% of all Israeli citrus exports:
1. Pink grapefruit - about 40,000 tons;
2. "OR" – a late-ripening mandarin orange, which was developed in
The pink grapefruit, which is known by its trade name "
The "Or" variety of Clementine has met with unprecedented success in the citrus-fruit export markets in Europe and the
This fruit ripens during a period when clementines are in short supply in the markets (February to April). The "Or" variety is seedless and its taste is especially sweet while its texture is exceptional; easy to peel. Picking "Or" begins in mid-January and the fruit is available on the shelves in
The Israeli exporters of this fruit have reported that overseas buyers put up a real fight to get their hands on shipments of the "Or" clementine fruit.
The first success story, which we are trying to repeat with additional products, was the "Or" variety of fruit.
Apart from developing new varieties, which are unique to Israel, efforts and funds are being invested in finding modern solutions in areas such as cultivation methods, disease control and the use of pesticides, as well as extending the picking season and improving fruit quality.