European Union (EU) lemon production is forecast at 1.57 million metric tons (MMT) in 2021–22, a decrease of almost 9% from the previous season, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service reported. The decrease is due to expected crop reductions for the EU’s main lemon producers, Spain and Italy, even though the area planted with lemons continued trending upward in 2020–21, to 82,320 hectares (HA).
Lemons represent about 15% of total Spanish citrus production, and Spanish production is forecast at 1 MMT, a decrease of 11% compared to the previous year. The decline is mainly due to unfavorable weather conditions. Spain increased its total planted area for lemons to around 48,000 HA in 2020. Following Mexico and Argentina, Spain is the third largest lemon producer in the world, but it is the top global exporter of fresh lemons in value terms.
Italy is the second largest European lemon producer after Spain. Italy’s 2021–22 lemon production is forecast to dip from the previous season to 450,000 metric tons (MT) due to floods that hit Sicily at the end of October. The floods caused damage to lemon groves.
Greece’s 2021–22 lemon production is expected to remain flat at approximately 88,000 MT.
EU lemons are mainly consumed fresh. In 2021–22, EU fresh lemon consumption and lemons
for processing are forecast to decrease in line with the decline in production.
The EU is a net importer of lemons. During 2020–21, EU imports of lemons increased 5% to 551,169 MT. South Africa, Turkey, Brazil and Argentina are the leading suppliers to the EU market, followed by Mexico.
In 2020–21, the volume of EU lemon exports declined 11% compared to the previous year
at almost 155,000 MT. Shipping primarily from Spain, main export destinations for EU lemons were the UK, Switzerland, Canada and Norway.
EU lemon exports to the United States declined sharply, 57% in volume, and were valued at $1.2 million. U.S. tariffs related to a World Trade Organization case against EU aircraft subsidies impacted Spanish lemon exports to the U.S. market. On June 15, 2021, the EU and the United States agreed to suspend the application of the tariffs for a period of five years.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service
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