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Morocco Citrus Harvest Seen 25% Lower as Orange Production Falls

Morocco’s citrus harvest probably slumped 25 percent in 2011-12 as lower rainfall and hot weather in May and July hurt the orange crop, the country’s Agriculture Ministry reported.

Rainfall declined 36 percent to 241 millimeters (9.49 inches) in the year compared with normal precipitation of 375 millimeters, the ministry wrote in a statement on its website dated Oct. 8.

The citrus harvest fell to about 1.5 million tons, according to the ministry, which didn’t provide a year-earlier figure. Orange production is estimated to have declined 27 percent to 763,000 tons, while output of small citrus fruits slipped 24 percent to 675,000 tons, it said.

“The decline in citrus production is not unique to Morocco, it is generalized across the Mediterranean basin and affects the biggest producer countries,” the ministry wrote. “This situation will translate into sustained export prices.”

Export availability in the Mediterranean region may slide 15 percent to 20 percent, according to the report.

Morocco accounts for about 10 percent of citrus production in the Mediterranean region, data from the European Fresh Produce Association show.

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