Chilean Lemon Production to Climb

Tacy CalliesCrop Forecast, International, lemons


Lemon production in Chile is projected to grow 6.7% in 2023–24 compared to the previous season and reach 175,000 metric tons (MT), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA FAS) reported. The expected production increase is due to high profits and an increase in planted area.

The lemon planted area in Chile is estimated at 1,150 hectares, a 1% increase from the prior season. The area grew from 5,911 hectares in 2016–17 to 8,081 hectares in 2022–23 because farmers found lemon production and export to be profitable.  

Lemon acreage increased in all of Chile’s producing regions during the past three years. The lemon production area spans from the Coquimbo region in the north of the country to the O’Higgins region in the central-south. The Metropolitana region in the central part of Chile holds 41.1% of the lemon acreage, making it the top producing region. In the Valparaiso and Coquimbo regions, citrus became a viable alternative to other crops such as avocado because of its high price and low water requirement.

Chile produces lemons for the domestic market in the summer months, between December and March, when prices are high. During the winter months, between June and September, international prices in Northern Hemisphere countries are higher than domestic prices, so most producers export lemons then.

Chilean exports are projected to increase by 8.8% and reach 74,000 MT in 2023–24. More than 60% of Chilean lemon exports go to the United States. In 2022–23, exports to the U.S. totaled 37,736 MT, which was 60.2% of exports that year. Other top markets for Chilean lemons are Japan, South Korea and China.

In 2022–23, Chile imported 5,645 MT of lemons through September. It imported 63% from Peru. It also imports lemons from Brazil, Colombia and the United States.

See the full USDA FAS report on Chilean citrus here.

Source: USDA FAS