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Research National Programs National Citrus Production Research Program
National Citrus Production Research Program




Citrus production in Uruguay represents approximately 1.1% of the gross agricultural product and generates an income of US$ 60 million. It is one of the main non-traditional export commodities after rice and dairy products.

The activity has consolidated an export-oriented production chain in the country, increasing its productive processes of vertical integration (production-processing-trading). The annual production is 300.000 tons, half of which is exported (counter-season sales) and the rest goes to the domestic market, consumed as fresh fruit or processed products (juice, concentrates, pectin's base, pellets for animal food).

One characteristic of citrus production in Uruguay is its intensive use of labour force, mainly during winter and spring. Over 10.000 people work in the whole production process.

This activity is carried out on an effective area of 14.324 hectares; with 6.387 million plants, 89% of which are productive plants.

There are two well differentiated production zones in Uruguay in terms of area, specific production and scale. The northern zone is the largest and comprises Salto, Paysandú, Rio Negro and Rivera regions. It occupies 84% of the citrus area and concentrates oranges and mandarins production in large farms. The southern zone is spread in San Jose, Canelones, Montevideo, Colonia, Maldonado, Florida and Soriano regions  specializing in lemon production. The majority of the citrus area in the country is occupied by two species: oranges (6.500 hectares) and mandarins (5.800 hectares).

Despite there are around 400 citrus farms, 75% of the production and 71% of the existing plants are concentrated in few large scale farms (50 to 200 thousand plants and more).

Significant changes made by the citrus chain in the logistics of the production system (variety change, use of irrigation systems, changes in fruit package, traceability, certification and agribusiness management) carried the citrus sector to its present position as one of the more relevant productive chains in the Uruguayan agriculture and fruit sector.




Work in a proactive profile for citrus integrated production management oriented to exports, to improve fruit health and quality increasing its added value, and promoting the inclusion of new farmers and market consolidation.




1/ Improve competitiveness of the citrus agro industrial chain by widening and diversifying the Uruguayan citrus fruit offer through varieties with superior quality and higher commercial value.

2/ Generate technological knowledge to overcome overseas commercial barriers to citrus products due to sanitary reasons, and carry out complementary actions in support to state policies.

3/ Work for productive, economic and social sustainability of citrus production through increased technological knowledge supporting product quality and value, with a balanced use of human labour, pursuing  higher investment and a sustainable environment.

4/  Promote and generate an integration of the technical team in national and international activities that contribute to differentiate Uruguayan citrus production and support its quality




Contact: citrus@inia.org.uy