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Start of Primofiori lemon harvest in Murcia

"We hope the arrival of Spanish lemons will reactivate the market in Europe"

The lemon harvest has already started in Murcia, the main lemon producing and exporting area in Spain.

"This Wednesday, we started harvesting the first Primofiori lemons in Murcia. After carrying out the degreening processes in chambers, which lasts for seven days, we expect to make the first shipments on Wednesday, 20 September," explains Enrique Fuentes, of the Murcian company Hijos de Alberto del Cerro.

"We will start with limited volumes, with just a few pallets. The supermarket chains are still selling Argentinian, South African, Chilean and Uruguayan lemons, although at this time the quality is already beginning to decline and they are impatient to receive Spanish lemons. We hope to work with our regulars customers from mid-October, when European retailers will make the definitive switch from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere," he affirms.

The fact, according to the exporter, is that supermarkets seek to make that switch from one hemisphere to another increasingly sooner. "We are noticing that at the end of the season of any origin, be it Spain, Argentina or South Africa, the fruit loses its quality faster and faster. We don't know very well why that happens and whether it is a climatic factor."

Smaller calibres and higher quality
According to the associations of lemon producers and exporters, as well as the Council of Agriculture of Murcia, this year's production is expected to be similar to last season's: 1,080,000 tonnes. "There will be an increase of about 10% in the production of Primofiori and about 20% less Verna lemon, so in general, with less Verna planted, the production will be similar to last year's," explains Enrique Fuentes.

The calibres are not yet very large, although Fuentes assures that the quality of the fruit is exquisite, with a very fine skin. "Given the very dry year in Murcia and the fact that trees of the Primofiori variety have a greater load of fruit, the lemons don't yet have the calibre we would like for this time of the year; however, the quality of the lemons this year and in the last three seasons has been very noteworthy, mostly due to the adequate temperatures recorded both in winter and summer, as well as to the good management on the part of the producers, who have invested more resources in nutrition and pest management, given that the latest campaigns have been good for them and they have enjoyed very reasonable margins."

Very quiet market in summer
Hijos de Alberto del Cerro also imports lemons from the southern hemisphere, for which, according to Enrique Fuentes, there is not a very high demand right now in Europe.

"This summer we finished the Spanish Verna campaign with a very lively market. The Southern Hemisphere season came in advance and overlapped with the end of ours." It was not a good start for the Southern Hemisphere lemons in Europe. The market has been very quiet until now. Prices have been slightly lower and unsatisfactory, according to our suppliers. We expect the market will reactivate with the arrival of Spanish lemons. I believe we have good reasons to expect a good campaign."

For more information:
Enrique Fuentes
Hijos de Alberto del Cerro
C/ Mayor, 372.
30139 El Raal, Murcia. Spain
T: +34 968600162
M: +34 672162003

Publication date: 9/21/2017


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