A first of its kind World Citrus Organisation (WCO) was launched, in Madrid, Spain, this week.
The organisation places citrus fruit at the same level of coordination worldwide as other fruit categories with global platforms – such as pears and apples, kiwis, avocado or red fruit.
Founding members of the WCO include the Spanish Lemon and Grapefruit Interbranch Association, the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa and sector representatives from South Africa, Argentina, Chile, Italy, Morocco, Peru and Spain.
The organisation will be administered by European fresh produce association Freshfel Europe, whose secretariat is based in Belgium.
The WCO facilitates collective action for both fresh and processed categories in the citrus sector.
The sector has been faced with an array of issues that are of global concern, including growth in production, overlapping of seasons, stagnating fruit consumption and changing climate conditions, which result in varied quality and biosecurity challenges.
The WCO facilitates member countries to better handle common challenges and seize opportunities for the collective benefit of the citrus sector.
The work of the organisation entails discussing common issues affecting citrus-producing countries, exchanging information on production and market trends, fostering dialogue on policy issues, identifying and promoting research and innovation projects in the sector, liaising with public and private stakeholders and promoting the global consumption of citrus.
The next meeting, where the foundation and future structure of the organisation will be formalised, will take place at trade show FruitLogistica, in Berlin, early in February 2020.