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Top 5 citrus fruit exporters in the world

The world’s largest exporters of citrus fruits in 2023 were Spain, South Africa, China, Turkey and the Netherlands.These fruits include orange, lemon, mandarin and grapefruit and all are characterized by their acidic taste and high vitamin C content.They are also one of the most traded horticultural crops worldwide.According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the world exported citrus fruits worth US$16 billion in 2023.

Citrus fruits

How much did the leading nations export in that year?

  • Spain: $3,822 million (+ 4 percent).
  • South Africa: $1.865 billion (+8 percent).
  • China: US$1.249 billion (+21 percent).
  • Turkey: US$1.124 billion (+25 percent).
  • Netherlands: US$1,037 million (+ 25 percent).

According to the South African government, citrus fruit types require a warmer subtropical environment because they are sensitive to cold weather and can die in freezing temperatures. However, there are different types of citrus varieties that have sufficient cold hardiness to withstand freezing conditions, especially in mature fruits.

Origin and industrial uses

Citrus fruits have their millenary origins in East Asia, specifically in southern China, northeast India and Southeast Asia, where the first wild varieties began to be cultivated.In the food industry, they are used to make juices, nectars, concentrates and preserves, in addition to serving as natural flavorings in food and beverages.In the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry, extracts and essential oils of citrus fruits such as lemon are used in cleaning products, disinfectants, cosmetics and perfumes.Citrus essential oils such as bergamot, lemon and orange are used in the fragrance and perfume industry.In the cleaning products industry, citrus essential oils are valued for their antimicrobial and aromatic properties.