Argentina’s Lemon Crop to Increase

Josh McGill Export/Import, International, lemons

In its semi-annual citrus report for Argentina, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA/FAS) increased its 2021–22 estimate for Argentina’s lemon crop production by 15%, to 1.9 million metric tons (MMT).

Lemon Crop

Lemons are grown principally in the northwest provinces of Tucuman, Salta and Jujuy, with some minor production in northeast Argentina. Over the past few years, both existing and new lemon crop producers in northwest Argentina have expanded their planted area. Tree removal and replanting have been increasing the plant-per-hectare ratio and improving efficiency and yields. For 2021–22, the area planted to lemons is estimated to remain stable at 50,000 hectares, the same as in the previous two years.

Over the past decade, the lemon sector has been buoyed by investments in new production and technology, with 70 to 75% of total production devoted to exports of processed lemon products, such as essential oil, frozen pulp and dehydrated peel. However, growing global competition and domestic economic contraction have negatively impacted the lemon sector.

Lemons for processing in 2021–22 are projected to increase to 1.49 MMT, up 15% from previous estimates.

Domestic consumption of fresh lemons is projected at 150,000 metric tons (MT), up 20,000 MT from prior estimates due to larger lemon production. USDA/FAS reported that consumers are strongly interested in strengthening their immune systems to face the COVID-19 pandemic through consumption of vitamin C.

Fresh lemon exports for 2021–22 are forecast at 260,000 MT, up 30,000 MT from prior estimates. The fresh lemon export business continues to remain profitable. However, lemon sector competitiveness has been affected by significant production cost increases (especially labor, inputs, energy and freight costs), a container shortage and high inflation rates.   

See the full USDA/FAS report on citrus in Argentina.

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

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