Argentine citrus to enter the U.S. market

Jun, 05, 2023 Posted by Gabriel Malheiros

Week 202323

The Argentina citrus industry expects processing for mandarin and clementine entry to be expeditious to begin exports to the U.S.

As the Argentine citrus industry is amid harvesting and marketing, FreshFruitPortal spoke with the president of the Argentine Citrus Federation (Federcitrus), José Carbonell about this season.

Carbonell comments that citrus was affected by both “high temperature and lack of water, which has resulted in a lower amount of fruit and a smaller size.”

Lemon harvest began 40 days late, “due to lack of size and color; a consequence of the climate which has slowed everything down,” says the president of Federcitrus.

Regarding the analysis made of the citrus industry, Carbonell mentions, “the drop in production can reach 25 to 30% less on average in all species. This is a preliminary estimate, which could be even higher”.

Despite the not-very-encouraging news regarding the decrease in citrus production. Carbonell commented that there are positive aspects, which make exporters very happy.

“We have just recovered the Mexican market and opened the organic lemon market for the European Union. We are working hard to open the sweet citrus market in the United States, which is very important for the industry as a whole.”

He explained that currently the technical phase is already completed by Argentina and Senasa, so they are in the last instance.

“Right now it’s in the hands of U.S. agricultural authorities, we hope to move forward quickly and be able to have the market as soon as possible,” says Carbonell.

The main markets for Argentine citrus, especially lemons, are the United States, Europe, and Russia.

See the chart below for Argentina’s exports of citrus fruits in containers between Jan 2019 and Dec 2022. The data is from DataLiner.

Argentina Citrus Exports | Jan 2019 – Dec 2022 | TEU

Source: DataLiner (click here to request a demo)

Industry challenges 

Regarding challenges this season, José Carbonell mentions the exchange rate and above all the significant reduction of rainfall in the summer and a period of 40 days above normal temperatures, “has been the combo that caused the drop in production. And then late rains that delayed the ripening process.”

Lemon production in northwest Argentina has been in crisis in recent years, which has led to the eradication of plantations.

“The producers who had older, less favored plantations have been eradicated and transferred to other crops. This also influences the drop in production,” concludes Carbonell.

Source: Fresh Plaza

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