Prices may improve after last year's disaster As the first early Spanish Clauselina satsumas arrive heralding the start of the Mediterranean citrus season, making £5-£6 per carton on the markets, the latest forecasts continue to reflect that easy peeler supplies will be lighter than expected. A lighter crop, however, may be a blessing in disguise, and improve prices after a year which has generally been considered a disaster as a result of overproduction. According to sources in the Valencia province, the main production region, the overall figures could be as much as 12% down on last year. Apart from being a low crop year, cold weather during blossom time has taken its toll and there has been the additional effect of orchard reduction through outbreaks of the tristeza virus. While early picked fruit such as Clauselinas and some clementines appear to be the exception, the later varieties are expected to be most affected. Oranges have fared better with Navels only down a marginal 3% on 1999, while Valencias could see a similar reduction, although it is too early to confirm this trend. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}