Continuing rationalisation of the industry sees Mehadrin join with Tnuport Two of Israel's biggest citrus organisations Mehadrin and Tnuport, which represent nearly two thirds of the country's exports, are to merge. The merger will be completed in time for the coming season and includes plans to develop the TOP brand. The companies have already cooperated in marketing in France, Germany and Scandinavia. The continuing rationalisation of the Israeli industry follows deregulation of the Citrus Marketing Board of Israel in the early 1990s. The other large player that has emerged is Agrexco with a 25% share. It also sells for some of the smaller citrus groups. Pardess accounted for 7% of the crop in 2000/2001, and Ben Ezar under 2%. The past season saw a dramatic drop in exports, according to the CMBI. The total volumes of grapefruit, oranges, easy peelers, lemons and speciality citrus reached 13.6 million cartons compared with 15.1 million in '99/'00 and 18 million in '98/'99. Valencia Lates, Murcott, red grapefruit and red pomelos were the only varieties that recorded increases. As well as water shortages, the industry was also hit by a lack of pickers. It has been estimated over 100,000 tonnes of fruit, worth £20m, was left on the trees. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}