Lemon production in Chile is forecast to bounce back to 200,000 metric tons in 2022–23 after decreasing by 30% in 2021–22 to 140,000 metric tons. The forecast was part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service’s (USDA FAS) annual citrus report for Chile.
Chile produces lemons in the summer months between December and March for the domestic market and during the winter months between June and September for the export market.
USDA FAS estimates 2022–23 area planted in lemons at 8,500 hectares, a 5.7% increase over 2021–22, following the growth trend of the past three marketing years. The trend is explained by farmers moving toward more profitable crops, including citrus.
The lemon production area is in the northern and central part of the country, from the Coquimbo region to the O’Higgins region. Lemon area planted grew in all of Chile’s producing regions during the past
three marketing years. The Metropolitana region, in the central part of Chile, holds 41.1% of the lemon area, making it the top-producing region. Citrus became a viable alternative to other crops such as avocado because of its high price and low water requirement.
In 2022–23, exports are projected to reach 100,000 MT assuming a normal production year. The lemon marketing year starts in April with the beginning of the harvest season. The bulk of exports takes place between June and September each year with a peak in July or August.
Exports were expected to decrease by 43.6% in 2021–22, to 60,000 MT, due to lower production caused by frost. Chile exported 101,996 MT of lemons to the world in 2020–21.
The United States is the top market for Chilean lemons. In 2020–21, Chile exported 65,682 MT to the United States, which represented 64.4% of export volume. Chile also exports lemons to Japan, China and South Korea.
Source: USDA FAS
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