Italy is the second citrus fruit producers in Europe. In the Mediterranean context, Spain is the most important producer of citrus fruit in volume, ahead of Italy, with an output of 5.52 million tonnes of citrus in 2011/12 campaign. Other important producers are Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Greece, Israel and Cyprus. Italian citrus fruit supply has undergone continuous growth in the last few years. High-pressured international competition and the subsequent market crises, have lead to a revaluation of country’s cultivated surfaces and a concentration of production in more specialized areas. One of the more interesting strategies employed by the producers is a specific conversion of the variety on sale, so as to be able to supply the produce preferred by consumers, as well as adapting the commercial calendar to the changes in demand.
Orange production for the 2011/12 campaign is estimated at 2.3 million tonnes in Italy: a 18% up from the previous campaign. Piana di Catania, in Sicily, has the peculiarity of a different microclimate from its surrounding areas. The masses of snow on the slopes of Mt. Etna during winter bring about widely ranging temperatures from day to night, and this has a positive effect on the process of orange maturation, giving to the Tarocco variety’s pulp its typical pigmentation. The campaign began around the 1st of December with Tarocco oranges. There are certain areas in the province of Agrigento, such as Ribera, that are famous for the quality of their blonde oranges. The most common varieties are Washington Navel, Navelina, and Brasiliano, the latter being very similar to the Washington Navel. The campaign began around November 15th with Navel oranges. Navel oranges are the most common in the Piana di Sibari (Cosenza), area well known in the world also for its easy peelers, like clementine. The most common varieties in Puglia (Taranto) are Navel oranges, and to some extent Washington Navel. In Metaponto (Basilicata), oranges are almost exclusively of the Navel variety.
Approximately 600,000 tonnes of lemons will be produced during the 2011/12 campaign, up by 23% from the previous campaign. In geographical terms, Sicily produces 90% of the national total production. Other important production regions are Campania and Calabria. Only around 5% of the total national production is provided by the Campania region, but the quality of its produce is held in the highest regard, and is valorised by the PGI marks (Sorrento and Costa d’Amalfi). Production of easy peelers should reach 770,000 tonnes during the 2011/12 campaign: a 9% down from the previous campaign. The cultivated surface dedicated to clementines (seedless variety) has remained on par with that of the last few years. The most important areas for Italian easy peelers are Piana di Sibari, Puglia, Metaponto, Piana di Gioia Tauro, and Piana di Catania.