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2012 citrus season

Argentina: Harvest is delayed by about 30 days

Roberto Sanchez Loria (ATC) recognized that the climate has reduced fruit production and for many lemons to exceed export sizes.

There is less fruit compared to 2011, there is a crop that shows a delay of approximately a month, many farms with little activity, lemon prices (international)
located in reasonable values for the productive, industrial and export sector, high quality fresh fruit but with over proportioned sizes, and costs that show significant hikes, make up the picture which the 2012 citrus season in Tucumán develops.

All these issues were addressed in a conversation held by the GACETA Rural with the president of the Tucuman Citrus Association, Roberto Sanchez Loria.

- What level of progress does the 2012 citrus season have?

- The harvest is progressing slowly, due to the different climatic problems that
delayed the harvesting of fruit, making the start of the campaign very slow.

We had many days off, which had a clear impact on the business: the delay made us have a lot of fruit with exceeded sizes (diameter). We achieved good aesthetic quality, but we have plenty of fruit to derive to the industry because it exceeded the exportable quality.

- Less citrus fruit compared to 2011.

- Indeed, we have much less fresh fruit in relation to the campaign of last year.

This happens because of two reasons: a) we have less fruit due to drought, and b)
these complications were added to the unseasonable rains which complicate harvest and availability of fresh fruit in the fields.

- So there was little progress.

- Yes, the citrus campaign had little progress so far. There are even, many farms that do not want to start this year's crop. An estimated delay of approximately one month.

The lemons that are not harvested in time and for their size, unfortunately, due to excess of size, will go for processing.

- What do prices show at this point in the season?

- Prices show at fair value, of course always measured in dollars (USD).

Regarding the European Union (EU), in the exchange rate, we would be at a disadvantage, because there is a loss in the value (depreciation) in dollars, compared to 2011. This favors us when we try to trade with the EU, which is the most important part of Tucuman´s lemon export season.

- In short, the situation in the fields is not the best.

- We have it all. On the one hand, there are farms where fresh fruit shows an optimal diameter, suitable for export. But in that same farm there are also plantations that have lemons with sizes that exceed the exportable limit, so that fruit will go to the industry. The truth is that in this season, the combination of lack of rain (when water was much needed) and excess rainfall (when not needed)
made a combo of difficulties that complicated the development standards of the season.

- The freight price, from Tucuman to the ports, it is always a headache.
What is the situation this season?

- The local freight, land (both by train and truck), plus all the elements that make up the cost of local citrus production, increased at a strong pace
in recent years.

This, undoubtedly affects the excellent level of competitiveness that the Tucuman fruit has in the world.

- There is fruit with good aesthetics and intermingled external diameters. What result did the health treatments have? How good is the fruit in terms of export?

- The agronomy of the crop has produced very good results.

At the beginning of this season, most of the fruit has a high level of quality.

As for the production of fruit, there is no doubt that the drought had an impact on the production of fresh fruit which was less than in the 2011 season, but lemons with great quality.

We will have to wait and see how fresh fruit reacts (which is in the trees), under the effect of these recent storms, as they may affect the quality. But the end result depends on how they worked in each of the Tucumán citrus farms.

Source: Lagaceta

Publication date: 5/29/2012


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