The Portuguese citrus industry has taken its first steps to explore the export potential of the UK. Growers have been fortified by EU certification that has recognised the superior quality of citrus fruit grown in the Algarve. Dr Jose Vitorino, chairman of Uniprofrutal, the region's fruit producers' union, said the main emphasis would be on introducing Navels to supermarket buyers and wholesalers. Said Vitorino: "Navels account for around 70% of our total citrus crop of 250,000 tonnes. We also have an excellent range of easy peelers. "There are a further 100,000 tonnes in the pipeline over the next five years as many of the groves are less than 10 years old and are still reaching maturity." Vitorina believes the fame of the Algarve as a tourist region is a strong marketing tool. Ultimately, Uniprofutal is planning promotional activities, he confirmed, but only when there has been an opportunity to assess the whole European market. Seven packer groups have been authorised to use the strictly controlled brand. Shipments will be the responsibility of two secondary level commercial producer organisations called Citrus and Key. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}