The Secretary General of the League of Agrarian Communities and Farmers Union of the National Peasant Confederation of Yucatan, (CNC), Marco Vela Reyes, stated that citrus production already amounted to 247,000 tons this year, which would provide a strong economic impact.
Yucatan citrus farmers achieved a good harvest this fall. (PHOTO: freshplaza.com)
In an interview, Vela Reyes said this level of production would allow the citrus sector to generate more than 400 million pesos in revenues for 7,000 producers, most of whom are in the Southern Cone of the peninsula.
He said the state of Yucatan continued to be the fifth biggest producer of sweet orange in the country, the sixth producer of lemon, and the seventh largest producer of grapefruit this year.
Regarding grapefruit, he noted that the local citrus had achieved a phytosanitary status that allowed it to reach demanding markets, such as the Japanese market, where they had already sent several tons of grapefruits.
“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.
Another objective of the citrus producers from Yucatan, he said, was to resume the export of sour orange; which is why they increased the delivery of grafts of this fruit to producers.
He said that most of the production would be sold in the local and national market and that the juicing facility from Akil, the main processing plant in Yucatan, had begun to acquire the product since 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 faciliy 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 two 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.