Argentina Lemon Production to See Sharp Drop

Ernie NeffCrop Forecast, International

Argentina

Fresh lemon production in Argentina is forecast at 1.03 million metric tons in 2020-21, down 30 percent compared to the previous marketing year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) reported these figures. Low spring temperatures seem to have significantly affected production and, coupled with the ongoing drought, resulted in reduced fruit size.

As a result of the decrease in production, fresh lemons for processing are forecast to decrease significantly to 731 metric tons, down 31.5 percent from last year.

Growers in northwest Argentina have expanded planting area over the past few years. Tree removal and resetting have been increasing the tree per hectare ratio and improving productive efficiency and yields. For 2020-21, the area planted with lemons is estimated to remain stable at 50,000 hectares.

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Domestic consumption of fresh lemons in Argentina is forecast at 110,000 metric tons in 2020-21, down 40,000 metric tons from the previous year as a result of smaller production and a weakened domestic economy and restaurant sector.

Fresh lemon exports from Argentina are forecast at 190,000 metric tons in 2020-21, a decline of 25.5 percent from the previous year. The projected export decline is due to the decrease in production, available fruit supply in Northern Hemisphere fruit-producing countries, and strong competition by South Africa. Exporters are concerned about the continued threat of fruit rejections by the European Union due to the presence of citrus black spot. Compared to other Argentine fruit and specialty crop sectors, the fresh lemon export business remains profitable despite high costs. However, the competitiveness of the lemon sector has been affected by increasing production costs and high inflation rates.

According to FAS, large lemon producers continue to invest in the replacement of unproductive trees and in genetic materials to improve yields. New investments by the private sector are primarily concentrating on improving efficiency in processing and packing facilities, irrigation, and research and development projects.   

See the full FAS report on Argentina citrus here.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service

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