Orange oil is extracted by simple pressure from the outer coloured part of the Citrus sinensis peel. Oranges are widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates for the sweet fruit and commercially for essential oil extraction.
Orange oil is a by-product of the juice industry. Oil is cold pressed from the peel of the fruit, after the juice extraction and is widely used across the flavour and fragrance industry. Sweet orange (citrus sinensis) is around 90% d’limonene, a product used across many industries. Approximately 40% of global oranges are processed for juice and oil with 60% solely used as a fresh fruit for consumption.
Known as 'the orchid of Spain', Valencia is the largest growing region in Spain. You will find this type of 'sweet' orange growing near the coastlines whilst you will find cities such as Seville, Córdoba and Málaga filled with oranges during the season. Spain produces around 50% of all Europe's oranges making it the largest within the European Union. Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Portugal are the other main producers in Europe.
Spain is almost producing oranges all year round from over 300,000 hectares as the different varieties and regions lend themselves to production at different times. It is thought that of the 15,000 MT of 'bitter' oranges produced around Seville, most go into marmalades for the UK market.
The Spanish orange oil market has witnessed a lot of turmoil in the recent past. The “Per la defensa de la nostra citricultura” i.e. “Defending our own citrus sector” movement gained momentum until last April; about four thousand farmers and growers of oranges participated in a street protest in Valencia. The objective of the demonstration was to highlight the plight of indigenous Valencia farmers and call for effective measures to counter the crisis in the industry. Many of the recent trade treaties between the EU and third party countries are to the advantage of the outsider nation. The resultant influx of cheaper citrus fruits into the EU has created instability in terms of stiff competition; and all but displaced the local Valencia production. The protesting farmers have also initiated a signature campaign and will petition the highest representatives of the Spanish and European administrations. A manifesto presented at the end of the demonstration appealed to the government and public authorities to reconsider the situation and reassess priorities. It puts forth some points for consideration covering such aspects as direct aid and compensation to citrus growers; a review of external EU agreements; improved labelling; enforcement of quality, phytosanitary, labour, environmental and safety standards and checks.
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