Monday, February 26, 2024

The critical situation has been going on for five years now

In the last two decades, most of the countries that produce and export lemons have increased their productive area and production volume.

“The number has increased in Spain, in Turkey, and especially in South Africa. This has led to the doubling of hectares planted with lemon in the world in the last twenty years, which has not been accompanied by a similar percentage of demand,” José Carbonell, President of the Argentine Citrus Association FEDERCITRUS, commented on PortalFruticola.com.

It applies to fresh lemons and industrial lemon products, that is, juice, oil, and peel.

Carbonell assures that all countries have increased their planted hectares by at least 20%.

“Argentina has a little more than 55,000 hectares of lemons. Everything worked until 2019, when the crisis of overproduction compared to demand began to occur. This is a critical global situation for those countries that integrated (industrialized) production,” said Carbonell.

Acreage decline in Argentina

Carbonell estimates that in Argentina, about 10,000 hectares previously dedicated to lemon production have been “cleaned” or dedicated to another crop.

“There is a reduction of almost 20% in the planted area in northern Argentina,” added Carbonell.

The main markets for Argentine lemons are the European Union and the United States, markets where the number of shipments has decreased in recent years due to weather conditions.

“This year, we have all the rain we didn’t have last year. Which, like everything else, is not good either, because we will pay for it in fruit quality and late flowering,” said Carbonell.

Last year, the amount of lemon production in Argentina dropped from the two million tons it maintained in previous years.

Regarding industrial lemon derivatives (oil, juice, and peel), Argentina continues to be the world’s leading supplier.

Increase in production this year

Spain and Turkey increased their production this year. And also, Carbonell believes that this year, the amount of production in Argentina will increase.

“I’m not going to say how much, and I don’t think it’s a lot, but it’s probably because of the amount of water that came down,” Carbonell said.

“We take great care of the quality and health of the fruit.”

Carbonell says that the decrease in the export of Argentine lemons is mainly from fresh exports to the European Union, the main market.

“This drop happened, in part, through the own decision of the exporters, who took great care of the quality and health of the fruit sent. However, as a result, we have had a very healthy performance in 2023. In Europe today, they are worried about South Africa and Turkey, not about Argentina,” added Carbonell.

Because of all these sanitary measures taken by exporters, Argentina is now the country that exports lemons with the least amount of chemical residues in the world. The expert says that the Argentine industry hopes that this competitive advantage will begin to yield results in the coming years.

Export volumes

Last year, Argentina’s lemon exports fell to around 235,000 tons, of which 78,000 went to the United States and 120,000 to the European Union.

According to Carbonell, the market that has grown most consistently in terms of fresh lemon production is the United States, with a production that he classifies as “stagnant,” which, given the current world scenario, is a positive thing.

World Nation News Desk
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